With unemployment numbers still high in Massachusetts, the number of NBC10 Boston viewers who are having trouble getting their unemployment benefits is also up.
Sarah Vachon, Robert Barish and Norma Doane are among dozens of frustrated viewers who have reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds after having issues obtaining unemployment benefits.
Vachon, of Holliston, applied for unemployment in the spring after she lost her job at an after-school program in March.
“I passed in all of the paperwork that they asked me to, I called unemployment everyday trying to get that resolved and I couldn’t,” she said. "I probably called them close to like 15 times. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I possibly could do to get this resolved.”
Natick resident Barish says he initially received benefits after applying in April, but the money stopped coming in August.
“I had to send in some additional paperwork to requalify and that put a hold on all my payments for the last nine weeks,” he said. “The only thing I could do was call the phone number on the website, and got the exact same answer I kept getting over and over again which is, we have no idea when you’ll get paid.”
Trying to find answers is impossible, Barish said.
"You can’t, no matter who you talk to, when you call,” he said.
Doane, of Haverhill, told NBC10 Boston she was angry after the trouble she had with her unemployment payments.
"I thought I was lost in the system and I had no way of getting out,” she said.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development did not answer NBC10 Boston's specific questions about whether there are common errors that are causing delays or how claimants can better navigate the system if their benefits are stalled.
They did tell say, however, that due to criminal activity surrounding the national unemployment fraud scam, The Department of Unemployment Assistance is continuing to implement identity verification measures which may delay payments for some claimants.
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NBC10 Boston contacted the state on behalf of Vachon, Barish and Doane, and they finally received their back benefits totaling more than $12,000.
“I am so grateful for everything that you guys have done for me," Vachon said.
Barish said, “The stress relief is incredible now.”
“I can’t thank you enough,” Doane added.
If you believe a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed in your name, you should report the fraud at mass.gov/unemployment-fraud. Claimants may also call the DUA customer service call center at (877) 626-6800 from 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Multilingual call agents are available.
Additional information about unemployment in Massachusetts can be found at mass.gov/unemployment.