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WNC residents find increased unemployment claims lead to frustrating wait times

Unemployment questions
Nicholas Webb and Allison Miall found navigating the unemployment process to be trying, to say the least. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Many businesses have been forced to shut down, which has sent now former employees scrambling for unemployment.

The problem is especially bad in Asheville, with bars and restaurants already shut down and all non-essential businesses closing Thursday evening.

One local family has already seen the impacts of unemployment as they tried to get answers to questions about their claims.

Sunday, Nicholas Webb got the phone call so many have had recently where he was told he was going to be laid off. With four kids, he knew he needed to seek help right away.

He and his wife went online to the state's website to file an unemployment claim.

"Halfway through the application process, we were kicked off," Allison Miall said. "The entire site went down."

They came back later and completed the application, but the results weren't what they hoped. He was denied. So, they tried calling the number to get answers.

"We have called relentlessly for three days with no contact with anyone whatsoever," Webb said.

After doing further research, they found the denial came when the unemployment application tied him to a previous employer.

A local attorney said applying for unemployment online is the right way to go.

"As soon as you lose your job, or you have reduced hours, you should go and create an application, create an account online and submit an application for unemployment," Michele Morris, a volunteer attorney for Pisgah Legals Services, said.

She said it is important to have all your information ready to go, including your two years of employment history.

"When you start your application, you are going to need your Social Security number, you are going to need the details from your most recent employer, why you were separated, the most recent pay that you received and all the pay you are entitled to receive," Morris said.

As for the turn around time, Morris said this influx of claims is a strain on the system, and it is hard to know exactly how long it will take to process new claims.

"I don’t know what the turn around time is right now, and probably the bureau doesn’t know either, because they are set up to manage about 3,000 claims a week and they are getting, I think, 44,000 claims last week," Morris said.

The best advice she has for anyone filing claims is to remain patient.

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