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Kansas Department of Labor working to meet demand as many Kansans are still waiting for unemployment

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 8:39 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Months after Covid threw the state’s unemployment system into turmoil, some are claiming they still haven’t received any form of payment.

Shelly Mosley was laid off from her health care job in March. When employees were called back in June, her supervisor decided it was best for Mosley to not return because of her health conditions.

“I am very worried about getting Covid because I’ve ended up in the hospital before with my stomach conditions as well as bronchitis so my unemployment stopped June first, I emailed the paperwork that next Monday.”

After that, all Mosley could do was wait.

“I gave them a little bit because I knew that paperwork is going to take some time and I waited till July 6th and I spoke with Denise with the unemployment and she informed me that they had not received any of my paperwork requested. On July 10th I spoke with a gentlemen, he was able to tell me that they did receive it and then I called time after time on July 16th, July 17th just to get an update and I hadn’t heard anything back.”

Mosley finally did get a response and she found out she wasn’t the only one experiencing problems. “On August 12th, I received an email that the appeal was received on July 21st and they were working on claims from June 18th, and a lot of people’s claims, you know that two months they’re behind in August.”

The state says unemployment filings were up more than 3,500% the last week of March this year compared to last year and calls to their hotline at one point hit 877,000 in a single day. The Labor Department added phones lines and staff but as they struggled to catch up, Governor Laura Kelly replaced labor secretary Delia Garcia with her Former Deputy Chief Of Staff Ryan Wright. Kelly says they’ve managed to cut the backlog in half from 30,000 to 14,000.

“We have gotten nearly two billion dollars in unemployment claims paid to folks and that probably represents about two million claims so they’re working hard and doing what they can.”

After 13 weeks, Shelly found out her wait will be even longer -- her hearing isn’t until October 5th.

“My family actually had to come and move me and my mother and my two daughters down to Louisiana because one thing they’re putting off mortgages and they’re putting off rent but who’s paying for my food, who’s paying for my gas, who’s paying for my medical, I have suffered a lot with my symptoms.”

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