LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Since they were told to stay home from their jobs, more than 14,000 Kentuckians have made it from March until now without a paycheck.
Governor Andy Beshear has said getting those claims filed in March cleared is the top priority, but there are still thousands, like Caroline Jessee, still waiting.
“I called every day, waited about four or five hours, called back, it takes your number. You cannot get any help,” Jessee told WAVE 3 News.
The definition of insanity is doing something over and over expecting a different result, but Jessee and thousands of other Kentuckians are not insane, they’re just trying to survive.
“This is serious,” Jessee said. “People are going hungry, going into financial difficulty.”
Stuck in an endless loop of frustration, she filed her claim on March 19. Over 300 phone calls later, she’s still right where she started: always getting automated messages, never getting any answers.
“Thank you for calling. Please put your phone number in. Sorry, there’s no room in the wait line. We’ll get back to you,” she described.
Jessee, a hairdresser, has been pinching pennies and stretching her dwindling stimulus check and savings account.
“We’re supposed to be going back to work on the 26th, but I don’t think we’ll see anything before that,” she said. “I have enough food and I’m lucky enough to have family that help, neighbors and friends, but it’s bringing everybody’s anxiety levels up.”
She’s talked to friends and coworkers all in the same spot, maxing out credit cards, digging holes deeper. Even when they do get the money they’re owed, it will be tough to climb back out.
“There’s no need for this after so long. There’s no need for people to have to go through this,” Jessee said.
Governor Beshear said 7,500 claims from March will be processed Thursday night. Jessee isn’t sure if she is one of them, but she actually got in touch with a real person Thursday.
“What really upsets me is you actually get through to somebody and they hang up,” she said.
Jessee never actually got help from the employee that answered.
The labor cabinet has said a majority of these March claims haven’t been approved because people marked they were fired or quit, rather than laid off because of the coronavirus. There’s also been computer glitches, duplicates, employer issues and fraudulent claims.
Jessee knows she filled her claim out correctly because she was approved, and her account shows her how much she’s owed. It also that no checks have been issued.
“I think we need to really emphasize how people are struggling, how I’m in a bad predicament now,” she said.