Unemployment issues in La. continue; some people have yet to see a dollar

As unemployment issues in La. continue, some people still haven't seen a single dollar

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - America’s job recovery is continuing, but at a snail’s pace.

Another 837,000 Americans filed for unemployment the last week of September, which was down slightly from the prior week. As for continued claims though, that number stood at 11.8 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. Continued claims count workers who have filed for benefits for at least two consecutive weeks.

WAFB’s Donovan Jackson spoke with Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) secretary, who says the budget right now is only at $22 million, and could potentially run out. But she says people who qualify will continue to get their unemployment payments.

Earlier this week, lawmakers bought themselves some time (about a month) to help resolve the budget issue. Louisiana, like nearly half of the states in the country, have had to borrow money from the federal government to be able to continue paying unemployment. However, many people who were supposed to receive the state assistance have not received a single dime.

Jackson spoke with one of those people Thursday, Oct. 1.

“I’ve never filed for unemployment and as a time where I need to be drawing it, I can’t. I know I’m not the only person out there that feels the same way, but any hope at all right now would be greatly appreciated,” said Mark Taylor.

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Taylor says he applied for the assistance and got approved back in July after being let go from his job, but like so many others, he has not been able to get answers on the status of his payments.

Like millions of Americans, Taylor says he has been trying to find work, but job opportunities have been limited during the pandemic.

“We’ve done well, I mean, you know, thank the good Lord, but we can’t keep going like this,” said Taylor.

LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie says they’re working to ensure funds do not run out. Lawmakers are also working to find a way to fix the budget crisis, but a solution will likely not come for at least another month.

Secretary Dejoie says there are a few things people can do to help get their claims processed quicker:

  • Complete paperwork online to help avoid mail delays
  • Be sure to submit all required documentation in a timely fashion
  • Be aware the agency will call from a number with no caller ID

For more information, read the LWC’s benefits rights booklet.

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