Omaha man looks for answers after months without unemployment benefits

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- For many across Omaha, it’s been a waiting game for their unemployment benefits. Some reporting to us that they have waited nearly two months, and still no money.

Randy Young has dedicated his day for the last two weeks to get answers on where his unemployment payment is. He filed over a month ago and says his family needs help now.

“That is my full-time job right now is trying to get answers to what’s going on,” said Young.

Randy Young Jr. wakes up to log onto Nebraska’s unemployment site every day but has never gotten through to a person. One day, he was told he had a wait of over 8,000 hours. Tuesday he lucked out with a 12-minute wait, but as the day progressed he was bumped further back.

“And I just watched Governor Ricketts talk about unemployment and how they are working overtime and this and that and doing all these things and it doesn’t feel that way,” said Young.

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, this long wait is because this level of unemployment was sudden. Since March 8th they’ve received nearly as many claims as 2017, 18, and 19 combined and processed almost as many as 2018 and 19 combined.

“We’ve hired additional teammates to process these applications, we’ve hired outside firms to help us add staff to the adjudicators,” said Governor Ricketts.

The state has increased its staff to around 200 people compared to their regular 34.

Young understands the problem facing the state but he still expected to be able to get through to the state via phone or website.

“It’s just the lack of communication. It’s zero communication at this point which is the most frustrating thing,” said Young.

The state wants to process 75-percent of claims in 21 to 28 days. Young fell out of the 75-percent weeks ago. After Six News contacted the Labor Department he was contacted and told his claim would be reviewed. Later, they emailed us saying he will be paid tomorrow.

The Labor Department told me once you file your claim there is no need to contact the department again. What you should do is file weekly claims until you are determined eligible for unemployment.

The Labor Department also says anyone who does not receive their payments will get back payments.