An estimated 16 million people in the US have lost their jobs in the past three weeks, many due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With millions of unemployment claims overwhelming states’ websites and phone lines, some have been unable to access benefits. A startup called DoNotPay has launched a newest feature: a chatbot that will help you complete and submit unemployment claims.
The startup already offers chat-based interfaces for other anti-bureaucracy tasks, from filing small claims lawsuits to generating customer service complaints, so its unemployment benefit tool was a natural extension. Users get a list of documents they need up front, then answer a set of questions that DoNotPay uses to fill out the necessary forms. DoNotPay has three employees working full-time on updating the process for each state as their criteria changes.
That help couldn’t come at a better time. With roughly 22 million Americans filing for unemployment over the past three weeks, many states have struggled to keep up with the overwhelming number of people seeking support.
“We’ve helped people deal with government paperwork and corporate bureaucracy for the past few years,” CEO Joshua Browder tells CNBC Make It. But getting help submitting unemployment has been the most requested feature by users since the start of the layoffs, he says, adding that users have been complaining of long wait times on the phone and limited online access.
DoNotPay執行長Joshua Browder告訴CNBC Make It，「我們已經幫助大家處理政府的文書作業，過去幾年也跟官僚體系合作。」在裁員潮開始後，協助申請失業補助成為用戶最需要的功能，Joshua Browder也補充，用戶一直都在抱怨申請電話的等待時間太長，能在線上完成的程序也很有限。
DoNotPay can submit the unemployment claim online at off-peak hours, increasing the chances that it’ll go through without any issues. Users can also ask DoNotPay to file their claim by mail or fax. The app then notifies users when it has successfully submitted a claim.
本文收錄於英語島English Island 2020年05月號