Nov 18, 2010 7:18 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Acadiana Residents Frustrated with Unemployment Claim Process

Waiting for unemployment money can be stressful ... not knowing when the checks will start coming in after you've been let go from your job. Most of the time the state says you'll get paid within the week.
But we've been getting emails from viewers who say it's been two months... with no reply.
Lori Touchet worked for a local police department for years, but under doctor's orders had to take a temporary leave from work.
Touchet said, "they claim it was for medical reasons but they basically forced me to resign, it was either resign or be terminated."
She choose to resign after being assured unemployment would not be a problem. She filed her claim on September 7...not long after she received a letter in the mail ...stating her claim was being investigated.
She said it was, " because there a discrepancy about my separation and if i don't hear back in four weeks then to call a number."
So she called the number.
"It took me four days to finally get through to a number that would actually put you on hold, " Touchet said. "I stood on hold for an hour and half where I was told it was being investigated."
Another Acadiana resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was also forced to resign from her job. She filed a claim on October 24 and then a few weeks later went and visited the Louisiana Commission Workforce Office in Lafayette.
"The door greeter tells me the man is out to lunch right now, he's leaving early and he already has a a line of people waiting for him," she explained. "He sees 40 to 50 people a day. He's really overwhelmed."
Local coordinator for Louisiana Workforce Commision, Tina Johnstone, said "it is limited. He is only one individual that we have there are other services that we have."
They also have a website . Officials said it's being revamped to better serve the need of residents applying for claims.
State officials say there isn't a backlog, but can't comment on specific claims.
In the cases of the two we spoke to it could have been because they resigned.
Johnstone explained, "it would take a long time for it to go through the process where they have to get statements from the employer statements for the individual. They actually have to hold a hearing, it has to be adjudicated where the judge makes a decision."
The only option for both residents is to wait and keep applying for jobs.


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