CHICAGO (CBS) — For weeks, you’ve been sharing your stories of frustration, as hundreds of thousand of people try to file for jobless benefits.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams is Working for Chicago and found the story that tops them all.
Her name is Donna and she told CBS 2 she made 1,000 phone calls to the state, but still no unemployment relief. This is five weeks after she lost her job.
So she went to the top and found help there.
Donna Massaro-Zarate works at a spa. She lost her job on March 21 and on that day, Massaro-Zarate said she applied for unemployment relief.
“It gave me the impression this was just going to move ahead,” she said.
But for weeks, Donna saw no help. So she continued to log onto the state of Illinois’ website and called the state’s 800 number.
“In the last five weeks, I probably have called that number over a 1,000 times,” she lamented. “By the 500th call, I was starting to question my sanity a little bit, as well as why do I keep doing this. And just giving up, I have to say.”
But with bills and rent due, she made yet another effort. This time she emailed Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
Right away, she received a phone call.
“I want to say his name was Mike. It was wonderful. He told me he had just received this notification email from the governor’s office,” Massaro-Zarate said.
Mike resolved Donna’s case and said she’ll see funds this week.
Still, the governor, perhaps thinking he’ll get a flood of calls and emails to his office now that Donna’s story is known, on Wednesday urged unemployed workers to continue using the state’s website to get relief.
“Of course we want people to reach out. I would ask them to certainly to first try to do it online, that really is the best way to get it done,” Pritzker said. “It’s going to be clunky to have a lot of people involved in the process. If you can avoid that please do.”