By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – Between two phases of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s new software for unemployment insurance, more than 300,000 people have been able to sign up with more than half a billion dollars being distributed. Still, some people are having issues.

With long waits for access to a call center and confusing webpages, many people have turned to Facebook groups to get help.

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“Really the whole point of the Facebook group is crowd sourcing because no one of us has the answer. We’re only doing what we know,” said Erin Joy Swank, a moderator for a Facebook group called Colorado Unemployment/PEUC/PUA Q&A. “I just try and help people as I can.”

Swank has a history of dealing with unemployment claims in Colorado and other states and had written blog posts about navigating the system. The stage manager hasn’t worked a show in more than a year and decided to put her knowledge of unemployment to good use.

At the beginning of the year, she became one of several moderators for the group.

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Since phase two of the MyUI+ system went online Saturday morning, CDLE says 130,000 people have opened claims and been paid $206 million. Many people on the Facebook group credit its existence for helping them get their claim processed.

“I do see progress. It’s slow. It’s not as fast as anyone would like. There’s definitely still some issues and of course if it’s your personal issue everyone panics. I do think a lot of the chatter is going down on our website. A lot of people are getting paid. It’s getting there, but there’s still some big, big issues going on,” Swank said.

Swank says it’s a group effort to help others.

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“Luckily more people are getting though, but there are a heck of a lot of questions still going on,” she said.

Jeff Todd