Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Unemployment issues continue; LWC says backlog is zero

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BATON ROUGE - Friday, the Louisiana Workforce Commission published a news release that said the 30,000 identity verification backlog reported on January 8 has been cleared. Last week, over the weekend and into Monday, 2 On Your Side continued to receive emails and calls from claimants waiting to hear back from LWC regarding their unemployment benefits.

Aaron Moses says he was laid off from his job in the oil and gas industry on January 5.

"Every day since then I check to see if I've received any communication from LWC, I have not," he said.

Moses' account says it's "in progress" or "not applicable" and when he tries to get through to someone on LWC, he's often unsuccessful. When he did get through he was promised a callback.

"She guaranteed me that I would get a call back within 24-48 hours and like I said, that was last Wednesday," said Moses.

Philip Bodungen says he doesn't have an issue getting someone on the phone at LWC, but no one seems to be able to identify the problem with his claim or know how to make the necessary corrections.

"It's been 31 weeks of outstanding payments that the unemployment office owes," said Bodungen.

He says he's added it all up and that LWC owes him $7,104 in unemployment benefits. It's money he could really use right now.

"Absolutely, I mean, we have two children here at the house," he said.
His claim also says it's "in progress."

Claimants also continue to write in to 2 On Your Side about their call wait time. One woman says she's been unemployed since November 2020 and has been filing for unemployment weekly. On Saturday, she sent a picture of her phone showing she'd been waiting to speak with someone for two hours.

Another claimant says his claim has been under a benefit payment audit control investigation and he's been waiting since December 2020.He says he's waited as long as five hours on hold only to be hung up on.

Last week, 2 On Your Side also received a call from a woman who received a 1099 in the mail that detailed $7,284 in unemployment benefits she had received. The woman tells 2 On Your Side she never collected unemployment and is now worried that this will affect her taxes.

LWC says that any individual or employer needing to report fraud can do so a laworks.net. Once that report is filed, the submitter will receive confirmation and there is nothing more that person will need to do. If LWC needs more information, they will contact that person or employer.
In November 2020, WBRZ spoke with Drew Enlund who filed a fraud report with LWC in July, only to learn weeks later that it was never investigated. LWC didn't elaborate on why the initial fraud claim was never looked into.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission says so far this year, Louisiana has paid more than $466 million to more than 206,000 people.


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