CHICAGO (CBS) — In just the past two days, more than 100 people have reached out to CBS 2 for help.
They’ve reached out because they know we’ve been championing for Chicago workers, exposing the systematic failures in the unemployment system, and pushing for answers.
On Thursday, the governor finally addressed many of those issues. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has the story.
Overall, more than 600 people have come to CBS 2 for help since we launched Working for Chicago. And the one thing we’re seeing is that getting answers when the state has questions about your claim can be a nightmare.
Single mom of six, Jennifer Mesick, had her dream job as a massage therapist in LaGrange.
“Yeah, I was really happy. And then March came,” Mesick said.
With no way to practice social distancing with her clients, she applied for unemployment. She got certified and got a check.
But the following month she was not able to certify and she was left without a check.
“I would like to know,” she said. Unsure if it was her error or a computer glitch she called and called for answers. But so far, no fix.
“I have a life. I have bills to pay. I’m stuck. I’m really stuck,” she said.
Meanwhile neither snow, nor rain nor heat stopped Candy Louck from pounding the pavement for USPS. But she recently decided on a career change: working at a bar in her hometown.
The problem? She made the jump in March.
“You had to have worked that job for 30 days. Perfectly understandable in the old world of jobs. But with this job, I was only able to work 10 days and then the governor shut us down. So to me it’s no fault of my open,” Louck said.
She called the 30-day job requirement obsolete in the age of COVID-19. And is calling on the Illinois Department of Employment Security (or IDES) to reconsider.
While this single mom is slowly draining any savings that she had.
“How, when I need to use this money that I’ve paid year after year into unemployment insurance, I’m not protected it. I just don’t get it,” Louck said.
Both Mesick and Louck are asking for more communication from the state and a little more understanding for the unemployment roller coaster that more than one million residents have been forced to ride.
CBS 2 reached out to IDES about re-certification issues and that 30-day requirement. As of Thursday, there has still been no response.