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Unemployment Gridlock: Owensboro Woman Waiting Months for Unemployment Checks

She calls the unemployment line daily. Each time, she's forced to wait in a queue, and never gets a call back.

Posted: Feb 5, 2021 10:15 PM
Updated: Feb 6, 2021 9:26 AM

69-year-old Judy Wood is one of countless Kentuckians still stuck in a statewide unemployment gridlock.

"I'm two months behind on my house payment, my car payment -- I had to get a new car because my old one broke down," Wood said. "I mean, my family doesn't even know I'm this bad off."

She calls the unemployment line daily. Each time, she's forced to wait in a queue.

"This has been going on for almost two months and I have never gotten a phone call back, never," she said. "I found another number to call and I called it the day before yesterday and I was put on hold for four hours and then disconnected."

Wood was let go from her job early on in the pandemic.

She received monthly unemployment checks until she got a job working for the census in September, but that only lasted a little over a month so she once again filed for unemployment benefits.

Though, no money ever came.

"I never got a check after that, after I worked for the census, even though I got a letter saying I was eligible," Wood said.

She now has two options: get unemployment or find a job.

She's more than willing to work but one major problem is making getting hired even harder. She said she's allergic to face masks.

Wood bought a face shield instead, but most businesses require employees wear a mask to work.

"Some places in town that I have been to have asked me to leave the building because I had a shield on."

This week Governor Andy Beshear addressed the issue so many are facing.

"I think you're going to see us be able to clear a number of fraudulent claims out of backlog," Beshear said. "That will help us better focus on those real claims."

He said he understands the frustrations, suggesting people sign up for an appointment online.

"That's not calling hoping to get somebody that doesn't have a set designated time for you, that is signing up to get 20, 30 minutes with an individual to try and work through your claim," he said.

But Wood doesn't have internet at home, so getting online isn't so simple.

Right now she just has one request.

"To talk to someone," Wood said. "Just a human being to let them know, if they can tell me what's going on."

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It was another brutally hot afternoon throughout the Tri-State; afternoon highs peaked in the mid to low 90s for our third straight day with heat indices approaching and even surpassing 100° at times earlier on. As for the remainder of the evening, one can expect much of the same - temperatures will stick around the upper 80s through at least dinnertime before dipping to 80° or so by 10PM. Winds shifting southward overnight will only allow temperatures to fall as low as the mid to low 70s throughout the Ohio Valley; we'll kick off what may end up being our hottest day in years with a morning low temperature of 73° in Evansville.
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