Thousands Waited Months for Unemployment Checks – NECN – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-05-28 00:06:11 –

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, NBC10 Boston has heard from dozens of viewers suffering from Massachusetts’ unemployment system.

Some people have to wait weeks or months for payments to be completed, even though Massachusetts is in danger of a new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). It states that the delay is continuing.

“I definitely had a hard time because I didn’t have the money to pay,” said Michelle Abramovitz of Somerville. “I couldn’t pay for groceries or petrol.”

She says the unemployment insurance she relied on stopped coming in March.

“I’ve called every day for the last five weeks,” says Abramowitz. “I kept talking to unemployed people and getting different answers, but nothing was solved.”

Many viewers told NBC10 Boston that it was a nightmare to deal with the state’s unemployment support agency over the past year.

NBC10 Boston asked State Secretary of Labor Rosalin Acosta about these delays Back in February..

“Currently, some people are waiting 30 or 45 days,” said Acosta. “That’s important to me. I want people to be paid quickly.”

But the new records we have discovered show that for many, these delays are actually much worse.

At least 28,000 Massachusetts workers had to wait at least 10 weeks for their first unemployment inspection after being dismissed during a pandemic, according to a monthly report submitted by Massachusetts to the federal government. ..

It’s been more than two and a half months.

“This certainly reflects what I saw in the proceedings I received,” said Rory MacAneney, an employer at the Community Legal Aid in Worcester. “But some people are dismissed after 10 weeks, have to go through an appeal and wait for a hearing, so it often takes at least 10 weeks. Numbers … and they have a hearing. I’ve been waiting a few months, four months, five months to get it. “

Community Legal Aid filed a proceeding against DUA last year. The agency claims that it violates the law by not paying people benefits in a timely manner.

“It’s understandable that when the pandemic began, DUA was facing a changing situation like every company, every private sector, every government agency. Level of service,” said MacAneney. .. “But now, a year later, there really is no excuse for these ongoing delays and ongoing service disruptions: a much larger state than Massachusetts, which has achieved 87% of its decisions within 21 days. There is.

The DUA said it couldn’t respond to requests for delay-themed interviews, but progress is being made. Authorities say they continue to implement both technical solutions and staffing updates to address the time it takes to arbitrate pending issues.

In the last eight weeks, DUA has also hired 248 additional staff to address pending issues that could delay biller payments. Last year, the agency increased its workforce from 50 to 2,000 to handle a large number of unemployment insurance applications.

“I’m happy to be able to help people and do everything I can to help them, but at the end of the day there is a sense of helplessness that the ball is really on the DUA court.” McCanny said. “You can call and email until your face turns blue, but if DUA doesn’t make a decision or coordinate your actions, people will continue to suffer.”

In March, the state partnered with a new company to speed up the identification process.

They can use your credit history to find out who you are, or use your driver’s license or passport.

The DUA states that most people now take less than 24 hours to resolve an ID issue.

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