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LETTER: Devastated at experience trying to receive unemployment benefits

The COVID-19 pandemic was unexpected for all Americans. I never thought I would have been unemployed for this long. I know I am among many who are in the same predicament, but I am hoping that this letter helps me gain answers for all of us still stuck in the unemployment queue. Mid-January, I parted ways with my employer because of personal issues. If I would have known what the future had in store for me, I would have tried to delay the inevitable, and stayed at my job longer.

I have been working since I was 15 years old. Holding a job has never been a problem for me as I am an excellent employee and I am driven to do a good job.

I am a mother of two small children, and I rely on child care to maintain employment. From January to the middle of March, when school was canceled, I applied for jobs. Unfortunately, the places to which I applied decided to pursue other candidates. Now, I cannot work because I have no one to watch my children.

On April 9, I decided to file for unemployment after speaking to several friends and family who said I would qualify. I didn’t believe them, but I applied anyway.

I received one letter stating how much I would be eligible for if approved.

Since that day, my status has not been updated. It still says, “Your claim is under investigation. Please continue to request your payments until instructed otherwise.”

I have now requested three bi-weekly checks, but my bank account has the same 33 cents. When I call, it says I have been credited unemployment benefits, but each check amount is $0. During this time, I have called several times and I am never able to get any assistance.

On April 30, I was able to get through to a tier one representative after holding for 30 minutes.

The woman I spoke to said she didn’t understand why I haven’t received any letters or payments and asked to place me on hold to research it further. Feeling hopeful, I said, “Yes,” and she never came back to the line. I continued holding for an hour and 45 minutes.

On May 1, I called again. This time, I was able to reach a tier one representative after holding for 15 minutes. The lady I talked to said she would need to transfer me to a tier two representative. This time, I held for three hours and 18 minutes.

I was devastated.

To me, it seems as if the ball has been dropped on my case. I have been set to the side and forgotten about.

Now, I can’t get through to anyone at all. I have been in queue for a call back since May 2.

I feel helpless and lost. I am fearful for my family’s well-being as I am getting behind on all my bills.

I understand that my situation is not more important than the next person, and I have been patient.

I feel like I should give up and put it in God’s hands.

Alicia King