Nearly 28,000 Alabamians added their names to first-time jobless benefits list last week

Delays continue for unemployment claims

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We still haven’t hit the bottom of the pandemic’s unemployment pit.

Nearly 28,000 Alabamians added their names to first-time jobless benefits list last week. And some of those people are still having trouble getting help.

Jason Davis has been trying for more than two months to file unemployment claims, but he said he can’t get anyone to return his calls, and his bills are piling up.

“I was laid off end of March and filed my unemployment right after being turned loose from my job and I’ve just been filing every week since,” Davis explained.

Davis had been working for VLS Recovery Services for only a couple months when the pandemic hit.

He was the last to be hired, and the first to be laid off from his job. Now, he’s struggling to support his expecting wife, and seven other children.

“Nothing’s being done at all, and I don’t know what else to do. I’ve sent emails, I’ve made phone calls. I even sent an email to the governor’s office and nobody’s doing anything to help any of us. I know it’s not just me. It’s a lot of people that is going through the same thing that I’m going through and nothing’s being done,” Davis said.

And Davis isn’t alone.

According to a report released Thursday from the Department of Labor, more than 40 million Americans have filed first-time unemployment claims since the pandemic began shuttering businesses back in March.

Another 2.1 million filed initial jobless claims last week, and nearly 28,000 of those were made in Alabama.

“Just this week we launched a second call center that when it’s completely ramped up, will provide more than 100 new employees to assist those with existing claims and issues with those claims, including a brand new online live chat service,” said Director of Communications for the Alabama Department of Labor, Tara Hutchison.

“So, improvements are continuing to be made. We’re continuing to do everything that we can in order to make this process smoother and faster for the claimants,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said people should call the Alabama Department of Labor, and leave a message, if they’re having trouble filing claims.

She said someone should return your call within a few days, but they don’t want people to leave multiple messages because that will tie up the system even more.

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