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Frustrations Growing Over New Mass. Unemployment Website

Jobs7SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –Since May 31st, Laurie Peterson has been out of work. She’s been having trouble filing her claim through the state’s unemployment website. “I’m sick to my stomach to be perfectly honest. I have nightmares. It’s very frustrating,” she said.

Peterson has 2 children to care for and nowhere else to turn. “The end of May I filed. I received two checks, then I stopped for 5 weeks, called repeatedly, I was told that it was their technical error. When they resolved it, finally after 5 weeks, they had reverted back to a claim from 2010. Then, they started garnishing my wages 2 weeks ago,” shared Peterson.

Laurie says she received no explanation as to why, and that they’ll keep doing so until the state receives the nearly $5,000 they claim she owes them, leaving her with just $90 dollars a week.

When she got fed up with the website, she called the Department of Unemployment Assistance several times, and was kept on hold for more than an hour.

According to the Joanne Goldstein, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, more than 115,000 people successfully use the website each week, with only a small number, 100-300 finding problems.  “The causes are multifaceted; in some cases the data conversion from the old system to the new system was problematic. The new system is correcting those data issues, but it takes a few weeks to happen. We recognize that people are frustrated, and we’re offering a variety of options for people to reach us.”

Goldstein also notes that delays also arise because of the type of claim that is being processed and whether or not that claim is in adjudication.

She adds that they’ve also doubled the number of people handling the claims, hiring 60 more call center employees, with an additional 20 more coming in the next few days.  “I was hopeful last week, however I did claim again this week, left a message, but I have no idea when this is going to end,” admitted Peterson.

Laurie did note that she is in a training program, and hopes to have a job by September.

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