by Carolyn Bick
According to NaSushon Taylor’s unemployment claim, which as of mid-June was still listed as “[a]djudication in progress,” Washington State owes her more than $5,000 in unemployment.
She hasn’t seen a dime of that money.
For the first three months since she was furloughed from her dishwashing job at Cook Weaver in Capitol Hill nearly four months ago, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Taylor called Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) every day to try to get the thousands of dollars in unemployment the state owes her.
Taylor has been fighting hard for it. When she was still calling ESD every day, it wasn’t unusual for her to call hundreds of times in one day. One day, she called ESD 541 times. Another, she called 511 times. Each time, ESD’s system disconnected her call.
Taylor isn’t alone. Robin, a registered nurse and tutor who preferred that the Emerald not print her last name or place of employment, was furloughed from one of her two part-time jobs at a local clinic in mid-March. She faced a different situation — ESD had told her that she owes the state $1,700 for allegedly inaccurately entering one of her employer’s names. But the end result was the same as Taylor’s: she dealt with endless holds and hundreds of dropped calls, while the bills continued to mount. And according to ESD, hangups, dropped calls, difficulties using the system, and general confusion aren’t an uncommon problem for the almost 1.17 million people who have filed for unemployment since March 7.Continue reading “It’s Labyrinthine”: Workers Filing for Unemployment Benefits Face Dropped Calls, Confusing Online Systems, and Hours-Long Wait Times