Six months into the pandemic, some laid-off workers find themselves waiting weeks or even months to receive their unemployment benefits. States blame antiquated technology and say their staffers can’t keep up with the continued surge of claims, while worker advocates say these are just excuses for mismanagement and a failure to prioritize funding for upgrades. As this plays out, an untold number of families are hanging on by a financial thread.
“I’m living with my mother now, out of necessity,” said Adia Romaine-Figueroa, a Sacramento-area veterinary assistant who lost her job in April and inexplicably stopped receiving unemployment payments at the beginning of May, she said. “I have a balance of $10,000, of which I’ve received $2,000.” Romaine-Figueroa said she has spent hours trying to reach someone — anyone — at the state’s Economic Development Department to no avail.
Half a country away, Indiana hotel worker David Kruszewski describes a