July 10, 2008

State Advises Jobless to Not Pay to Apply for Benefits

By Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Jul. 10--LINCOLN -- State Department of Labor officials want Nebraskans to know that some things in life really are free -- and applying for unemployment insurance benefits is one of them.

Commissioner Fernando "Butch" Lecuona put out an alert this week about private, for-profit Internet sites that charge people to file for unemployment benefits.

Lecuona said the state provides those services for free. He warned that Nebraskans should use caution with such Web sites because they collect personal information, including Social Security numbers.

Labor Department officials learned of the situation from a Grand Island woman who used an Internet site she found through a Google search to apply for benefits, said Terri Johnston, a department spokeswoman.

The woman realized later that she could have gone directly to the state without charge, Johnston said.

Johnston said the sites generally charge from $15 to $20.

Lecuona said Nebraska workers can go to the Labor Department Web site to apply in a safe, secure and confidential environment. The site is www.nebraskaworkforce.com.

People also can phone the Nebraska Claims Center at 402-458-2500. The call is free from local Workforce Development offices.

--Contact the writer: 402-473-9583, [email protected]


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