Improve unemployment "assistance" in Arkansas
There are now thousands of people who cannot get through the phone lines to complete their Unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment applications. Or those who have completed and been approved and are still not receiving any money. On top of that, there are applicants who have been approved, started receiving money, then their accounts have been locked for review and we are given to time line as to how long it will be until we can claim benefits again. I have heard that there are over 10,000 locked accounts with only TWO employees to go through and audit them.
Many of us having been trying month after month, calling hundreds or even thousands of times a day just to try to reach one person to help us with our applications or those trying to figure out why they are "Pending" or "Approved" and still not getting any money, with no answers in sight. We cannot get answers from the Unemployment office itself, We cannot get answers from local and state representatives, so it's time for a change.
At this point many of us already have or are about to run out of money for basic needs like food and rent. We're trying to borrow money from friends, or have resorted to asking for money online, or going to food banks, but how long can this last?
We propose the following changes:
1) Implement a numbered Callback System for all people to have the option of leaving their phone number for a return call.
2) Give every employee that works for the Arkansas Department of Workforce the authority to a)give us a direct reason why we are not receiving benefits b)go through applicants profile and unlock their account if it is locked c)if there are issues on our account, give us a timeline of how long it will be until those issues are fixed.
3) Train new employees so they are better equipped to answer questions that we have when calling in. Re-train current employees so they are better equipped to answer our questions.
WE CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER - IT IS A MATTER OF SURVIVAL, NOT LUXURY.