82,000 Nebraskans file for unemployment in last month

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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Now we turn our attention to unemployment claims in Nebraska.

After a record week, fewer Nebraskans filed last week.

Some filers are asking "6 news" what's taking so long to process them.

The Nebraska jobless numbers are staggering.

82,000 Nebraskans have filed unemployment in the last month.

That’s like adding the populations of Bellevue, Papillion and La Vista -- 82,000.

For perspective -- 41,000 Nebraskans filed for unemployment all of last year.

Naturally -- it's stretching a system not used to the demand.

Chris Bettini: "The live chat will time-out before the chat will connect."

Bettini has spent weeks trying to figure out why his unemployment claim filed a month ago is still processing.

Reporter: "You've never had to file before?"

Bettini: "I'm one of those people -- my grandfather said, "you get an honest day's pay for an honest day's work."

A bartender and social media director for the last 15 years -- Bettini has tried calling, but is getting nowhere.

The advice is to come to the office -- and wait.

Bettini: “I said it was unacceptable. I couldn't do that."

The jobless system doesn't even recognize his claim for when it was filed on March 16.

Skipping ahead to the 28.

He's frustrated.

He hears the same from friends -- even strangers -- waiting for their checks, too.

Bettini: "They say it will normally take 21 days. Ok. 21 days. We're at 30 days. I know it's a lot longer, but people I work with in the field who filed at the same time as me -- have already received multiple checks."

The state says it's hiring 200 additional adjusters, but with more than 80,000 Nebraskans filing claims in a month -- it's taking longer than usual.

John Albin, Nebraska labor commissioner: "The system is keeping up well, but you have to remember what's going on."

The labor commissioner says the typical standard is to process a claim in 21 days -- but twice as many claims have been filed in a month -- than were filed all of last year in Nebraska.

Albin: "We're going to dig out. We're behind a bit. We're hoping to hit 75 percent in 28 days is our current goal."

While we are in unprecedented times -- that still means 25 percent of Nebraskans are waiting for over a month -- and beyond for unemployment.

Bettini: "I've been putting things on credit cards but you can only do that so long until you're in a financial pinch. It is definitely getting to a make or break point. Ok guys -- you said it will take time, but it's getting critical and I'm not the only one."

Of those 82,000 Nebraskans filing claims -- the hardest-hit industry is food service with nearly 17,000 claims.

Retails services -- 10,000 claims.