At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman is calling on the Department of Unemployment Assistance to upgrade the application portal for unemployment benefits to be fully compatible with smartphones and tablets.
Currently, the application does not allow for users of smartphones and tablets to view critical information including important communication from the department pertaining to their application unless they are on a desktop or laptop computer, and the state has repeatedly communicated that the best way to apply is online.
“There are many individuals who primarily access the internet through smartphones or tablet devices due to financial constraints,” said Councilor Lederman “Many of these individuals might utilize the library or other public computers when in need of a desktop or laptop computer to complete tasks like this, but those locations are closed due to the pandemic.”
Councilor Lederman raised the issue during a meeting between the City Council and state legislators Tuesday, saying it was an issue that was brought up during the recent Virtual Town Hall he held focused on COVID-19 issues. He sent communication regarding the matter to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today after receiving more information on the issue.
The unemployment website currently displays the following message:
UI Online is designed to be accessed from a desktop computer or a laptop. If you log in to UI Online from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, you may not be able to access certain features or view time-sensitive correspondence.
“It is really an issue of access and equity,” said Councilor Lederman “These are unprecedented times, and individuals who have lost their jobs and income through no fault of their own need access to these benefits to pay their bills and care for their families. This barrier should be removed as soon as possible.”