CHICAGO (CBS) — The state system built to offer lifelines to those who are out of work is riddled with gaffes, according to one worker empathizing with people waiting months for unemployment money.
“I just want to get back to my job,” said Angel Brewer Bass.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, Bass has been holding a one-woman protest outside state offices and has been brought to tears. She has been out of work for four months and has not gotten a single unemployment check in that time.
On Monday, the state called her and told her the money would be there Wednesday.
“If I hadn’t decided that I was going to protest, and I decided to call the news, and I hadn’t decided to do all of this, nothing would have happened,” Bass said.
Well, Wednesday came – and Angel came back to the Chicago Workforce Center building in Pilsen.
“Give me my money,” she yelled toward the building through a megaphone.
But only half of the $11,000 she was owed showed up.
“I am not playing with you. This is not a joke. This is people’s lives,” Bass yelled through the megaphone. “Are you kidding me? Are you really kidding me?”
The IDES did not say they were kidding. But they did call again in real time.
“You’re also saying the information that you had was that the system wasn’t working properly,” Bass said on the call.
Bass said the IDES worker on the other end of the line told her, “The system is inadequate and isn’t doing what it is supposed to.” The worker also said the office “ran out of debit cards” and that for a time, “mail wasn’t going out for a week,” Bass said.
“If you knew the system was working improperly, why would you give me a promise of a lump sum amount?” Bass said.
An IDES representative contradicts much of that, telling Tye, “We are not aware of any systems glitch,” and “Regarding the mail not going out, we will have to look into it and get back to you.”
As we wait for clarity for our questions, Bass has a few of her own.
“You already lied to me on the news once,” she said. “Will you do it twice this week? Or will I get what I’m owed?
Bass is not holding her breath. But she has been told to expect the money on Friday now. We promise to pass along what IDES tells us about the mail and the glitches that one insider says should make people like Bass mad.