The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced Tuesday that it will provide individualized claims servicing while limiting the public’s exposure to large gatherings.

The unemployment offices in Hilo, Kealakekua, Wailuku and Lihue will follow suit beginning Wednesday.

As well, unemployment benefits service will switch to an appointment-only service for those not using the online system.

“We’re taking this step to help prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure the safety of staff and the communities served,” said DLIR Director Scott Murakami in a press release. “The safest, and most efficient way to apply for unemployment benefits is through our online system at”

Murakami added, “We’re requesting the community’s support on this as we’re focusing on processing claims as soon as possible and getting benefits out to the community.”

People seeking services may still receive assistance by appointment only. Click here for more information.

Information for filing benefits claims online is available by clicking here.

Meanwhile, DLIR says unemployment offices will maintain normal business hours and “will stay available to the public and those seeking services.”

Before you go . . .

During a crisis like this, it’s more important than ever to dig beyond the news, to figure out what government policies mean for ordinary citizens and how those policies were put together.

For the first time, Civil Beat has become a seven-days-per-week news operation, publishing new stories and a new edition each Saturday and Sunday as well as weekdays.

This is perhaps the biggest, most consequential story our reporters will ever cover. And at no other time in Civil Beat’s history have we relied on your support more. Please consider supporting Civil Beat by making a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author