THE INVESTIGATORS: State worker slams continued delays with pending unemployment claims

THE INVESTIGATORS: State worker slams continued delays with pending unemployment claims

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An employee for the state says the time for patience is over and those in charge need to deliver on unemployment. He says his payments have been frozen since November and the unemployment delay comes while he is already trying to dig himself out of another problem that he blames on the state.

“LWC really needs to get its act together because it’s just too many people that’s out here hurting,” said Eddie Hawkins.

Hawkins works for the state as an assistant Sergeant at Arms at the capitol helping with parking but he says it’s the state that now needs to work for him.

“It’s just something really wrong with the way the state is handling this stuff with the people,” he added.

Like so many claimants, Hawkins is caught in a bind over unemployment. He was given a US Bank card from the state back in April. It worked fine for a while but then in November the funds were frozen because of potential fraud. He was issued a new card and that is when the trouble started.

”From November 7th until the present, I can’t get anything off of these cards,” said Hawkins.

When he calls US Bank, the automated system tells him the money is there; however, he can’t touch a penny of it and when he calls the Louisiana Workforce Commission, he says he can’t get through.

”You just run into a stone wall and nobody hears you,” said Hawkins. “I’ve been seeing WAFB do a few of these and everybody has the same problem.

”Hawkins tells the 9News Investigators he has been a victim to the state twice. Back in October, an inmate who was in the state’s custody gave deputies the slip at the gas station across the street from Hawkins’ home during a prison transport.

The inmate ended up breaking into his home and stripping out of a jumpsuit to try and get away. He was finally taken back into custody but not before Hawkins’ door was busted in and the house ransacked. The damage also spills outside where his back door needs to be replaced because of the break in. Those repairs will have to wait because he says LWC still has him on hold.

”I have to replace all of this stuff and it’s going to take money to do that and the money it’s taking to do that, it’s sitting down there for whatever reason with LWC,” said Hawkins.

More than a week ago, leadership with the agency told WAFB they were hiring more workers to get the job done but Hawkins does not buy it and says the results speak for themselves.

“Why are the results so piss poor? Just tell me that,” said Hawkins. “You done hired all these people and you got all these people working around the clock but yet when you call, you can’t talk to anybody.”

Dozens of viewers have emailed the 9News Investigators and the complaints are not slowing down. WAFB was able to help one man who called out LWC last week for the disastrous hold times with the agency. His claim was paid out just hours after that report aired.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: Complaints continue for LWC one week after agency extended call center operations

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Hawkins if he believes it should take people going on TV for the delays to get addressed.

“No. It really shouldn’t,” Hawkins said. Hawkins says it’s shameful and believes the state must do better as folks continue to struggle during the pandemic.

“This is a problem and this is a problem that’s going on too long and the way it looks, it’s not going away anytime soon. We’re tired of hearing ‘we’re sorry’.. do your job,” he added.

WAFB did reach out to LWC for a response to this report but so far, a spokesperson for the agency has not responded. The latest update from LWC shows they have paid out more than $54 million to roughly 180,000 people across the state.

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