People share frustration while applying for unemployment: ‘It just makes me feel helpless’

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Adding to the stress of losing their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic, people living in Greensboro are struggling to successfully apply for unemployment.

“It just makes me feel helpless, I can’t do anything to take care of my family,” said Reginald Holland, who was laid off Friday. “I have one of my grandkids that lives with us, and as you know they’re out of school, and that’s my biggest concern, feeding my family and keeping them safe.”

Holland is far from alone. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, more than 166,000 people have filed claims since March 16. 145,237 were related to COVID-19, according to public relations manager Larry Parker.

Parker said the department is in unprecedented territory with the volume of calls received.

“It’s frustrating because we know there are thousands of people in this situation, and you’re concerned about the thousands but you’re also concerned about yourself, and to make sure that everything is in order so when they do start sending out checks, you aren’t left behind because something wasn’t done,” Greensboro resident John Walker said.

Walker has been helping his wife fill out an application since Monday. He said he’s made 70 phone calls after her application was deemed incomplete.

“It said that her case was incomplete, no information, don’t know why it was incomplete, no email saying why it was incomplete, there’s nothing, nothing at all,” he said.

Stacy Walker lost her job as a hairdresser when her salon closed its doors.

“In my industry you’re face to face with people so you have to take that precaution,” she said Wednesday.

Christine Humble was let go from her job in hospitality and told FOX8 it took her a week to reach anyone in the office by phone.

“Weekends you can’t call, so I was beside myself on the weekends. That was harder because you don’t have any control,” she said.

She wants to encourage others still needing help not to give up.

“We’ve just got to persevere, we really do,” Humble said.

Parker said there is a list of frequently asked questions on the department's website.

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