Department of Labor sees delays in payment types leaving Nebraskans hanging

Nebraska Unemployment generic
Nebraska Unemployment generic(Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Just a few years away from retirement, John Robson, of Lincoln, had to leave his job because of the pandemic and he’s asking Nebraska for help.

“I’m 61 years old and I’ve had a job since I was 13,” Robson said. “This is my first time I’ve ever filed for unemployment.

Robson filed for unemployment on Jan. 31 and he’s spent the last two months waiting for checks that didn’t come.

“I’m on a restrained budget,” Robson said. “This is requiring money from a savings account I desperately need for retirement.”

Robson’s problem centered around a debit card that was supposed to have his funds on it that never came. Eventually, he switched his payment plan to direct deposit and he’s now gotten two weeks worth of payments, but is owed six more.

“When there’s thousands of dollars out there that I need now, it’s become a crisis,” Robson said.

He’s not the only one who has struggled with the unemployment program due to the pandemic.

A report from the Nebraska Ombudsman’s office shows 576 complaints were made to the office in 2020. Normally they’d get about 20 complaints about the Department of Labor the entire year.

“Nothing is going to be perfect but there needs to be responses to correct the situation instead of feeling like you’re getting more lip service from someone who can’t help you,” Robson said.

It’s important to note unemployment claims set records last year too with more than 240,000 claims. That’s a 475% increase over 2019 numbers when there were around 42,000 claims. So far this year numbers are also exceptionally high with 31,000 claims in the first three months.

Those impacted said they understand with high numbers can come mistakes, but these mistakes should be taken seriously.

“There’s homeless people out there depending on unemployment benefits, common people fortunate enough to have had a job and a roof over their heads who need these payments and right now I seem to be one of them.”

A statement from the Department of Labor said they are aware of a delay with specific types of payments and they are working as quickly as possible to resolve it. Anyone with delayed payment should keep filing weekly claims and will receive backpay if applicable.

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