Hoosiers report long delays in unemployment payments as state struggles to keep up with calls

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — More than 400,000 people across Indiana have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but some of them say they have yet to see payments because of unresolved issues on their accounts.

FOX59 has been hearing from people who say they cannot get answers about the delay in payments because the state’s system is so bogged down.

“It’s been now a month and I haven’t received anything,” Annie Yarbery said.

Yarbery has followed the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s instructions to file online every week, but her account on the state’s Uplink system still lists her benefit as zero dollars.

“I’ve called exhaustively (and) we’ve had to hold on the phone for like two hours, sometimes three,” Yarbery said. “They say, ‘Oh well, we don’t know, we can’t answer that question, we can get you to someone that can and when they transfer you, the phone just disconnects.”

Brandon Coleman experienced the same issues with long wait times and dropped calls. Coleman received his first week of benefits in late March, but in subsequent weeks his online account says, “non-pay due to unresolved issue.” Coleman has been unable to find out what the issue is or how to fix it.

“Really nothing other than, ‘We’ll connect you to somebody else,’ and I got hung up on after that,” Coleman said.

At the Governor’s daily press briefing on Thursday, April 16, Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne said the state has identified the reason for dropped calls and it working to fix it. Payne also acknowledged continued wait times, saying in the first two weeks of April the department received 800,000 phone calls.

“We are seeing the metrics trending in the right direction for our call center, but one thing that we know is that those metrics aren’t moving fast enough and that not enough Hoosiers are feeling the positive effects of those metrics,” Payne said.

The department has added 100 employees to answer phone calls in recent weeks. Its website says that if there is a problem with your unemployment account, a representative will call you but the wait time for a call is more than three weeks.

Yarbery said she finally received a call this week, but the person who looked at her account said she was not doing anything wrong and could not tell her when she will see benefits.

“It needs to be handled right away because you have families out here that really are dependent on it,” Yarbery said.

The Department of Workforce Development maintains a list of frequently asked questions on its website that is updated throughout the week. You can access the information at the link here. For more information about filing for unemployment in Indiana, click this link.

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