Laid-off workers in Maine face issues trying to file for unemployment

Busy phone signals and problems logging onto the state’s website are what laid-off workers in Maine are facing while trying to file for unemployment. “It seems like you’re chasing your tail no matter which route you try and contact them with,” Robin Knight said. Knight got laid off from her manufacturing job on Saturday and has been calling the Department of Labor’s 1-800 number trying to sign up for unemployment. “I sat there with my cell phone for like every half-hour and calling the 800-number and getting the busy signal yesterday which is outrageous,” Knight said. Laura Fortman, the commissioner of the Department of Labor, said the phones being down is a statewide issue not just affecting her department. “Unfortunately, under times of stress, all infrastructure shows any flaws or cracks,” Fortman said. “I think that’s what we’re dealing with, with the phone line.” Unemployment phone lines are only open for a few hours in the morning. Fortman said the reason is because those people answering the phone are also working on processing. “The reason the phones are only open during the time frame that they are is because the same people who are answering the phone, are also processing all of the claims that we’re getting,” Fortman said. There are plans to hire more people to help process the claims. There are 30 people doing the job at this time. On the Scatter Good Farm in Brunswick, individuals are volunteering their time helping to stock the shelves of local food pantries. Jami KomLosy was laid off two weeks ago and got her first unemployment check a week later. “I am very glad I filed when I filed,” KomLosy said. Knight is still waiting to get her first check. “It’s scary. I mean my husband is working, so we’re probably better off than a lot of people, but we live paycheck-to-paycheck,” Knight said. Fortman said for those trying to file for unemployment to go online and try that way. Click here to visit Maine’s Department of Labor websiteMore on coronavirus impact in Maine Gov. Janet Mills issues stay-at-home orderSign up for coronavirus newsletter

Busy phone signals and problems logging onto the state’s website are what laid-off workers in Maine are facing while trying to file for unemployment.

“It seems like you’re chasing your tail no matter which route you try and contact them with,” Robin Knight said.

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Knight got laid off from her manufacturing job on Saturday and has been calling the Department of Labor’s 1-800 number trying to sign up for unemployment.

“I sat there with my cell phone for like every half-hour and calling the 800-number and getting the busy signal yesterday which is outrageous,” Knight said.

Laura Fortman, the commissioner of the Department of Labor, said the phones being down is a statewide issue not just affecting her department.

“Unfortunately, under times of stress, all infrastructure shows any flaws or cracks,” Fortman said. “I think that’s what we’re dealing with, with the phone line.”

Unemployment phone lines are only open for a few hours in the morning. Fortman said the reason is because those people answering the phone are also working on processing.

“The reason the phones are only open during the time frame that they are is because the same people who are answering the phone, are also processing all of the claims that we’re getting,” Fortman said.

There are plans to hire more people to help process the claims. There are 30 people doing the job at this time.

On the Scatter Good Farm in Brunswick, individuals are volunteering their time helping to stock the shelves of local food pantries.

Jami KomLosy was laid off two weeks ago and got her first unemployment check a week later.

“I am very glad I filed when I filed,” KomLosy said.

Knight is still waiting to get her first check.

“It’s scary. I mean my husband is working, so we’re probably better off than a lot of people, but we live paycheck-to-paycheck,” Knight said.

Fortman said for those trying to file for unemployment to go online and try that way.

Click here to visit Maine’s Department of Labor website

More on coronavirus impact in Maine

Gov. Janet Mills issues stay-at-home order

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