It could take until end of July before tens of thousands of unemployment claims in limbo are resolved

Unemployment

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — On Thursday, the Employment Security Department confirmed that they have identified a small group of people dealing with bank accounts being frozen by mistake as the state battles with fraudulent claims.

But the bigger story continues to be the backlog in legitimate filers who have been waiting for months with no relief.

ESD says there are more than 71,000 Washingtonians still waiting for their cases to be resolved. Those people have not received a cent.

Others like Jammie Dilley are not in that category of people because her claim did go through and she received a couple of weeks of payments before it suddenly stopped.

After the state fell victim to a massive fraud scheme, they stopped paying many people to verify identities. Dilley got flagged more than 7 weeks ago.

“I sent my ID and social security 6 times in total,” Dilley said.

Dilley says she has no word on when her payments will resume and the Clark County woman says her stepdad in Grays Harbor County is even worse off than her.

“He has been since March 15, he hasn’t gotten a letter, a phone call, he has gotten nothing,” Dilley said.

ESD Commissioner Suzi Levine says despite the frustrations there is progress.

In the last two weeks, she says 100,000 total identity issues have been resolved, many of them with the help of dozens of National Guard troops.

“I will speak to my extraordinary team, they are burning the candle at every end and working incredibly hard at how we are processing in every dimension,” Levine said.

But there is still a mountain of unresolved cases affecting people all across Washington including Seattle resident Shandra Scobba. Q13 News has interviewed Scobba several times since March.

“If you try to call you are on hold for days,” Scobba said.

Starting Wednesday until July 5th, ESD will be focusing heavily on outbound calls reaching out to people especially those who have been waiting for the longest.

Dilley’s stepdad is one of those people. ESD on Thursday said they hoped to resolve the more than 71,000 cases by the end of July. Also at that time, their goal is to reduce the wait time to resolve problematic claims. The average wait now is 6 and a half weeks, by the end of July, ESD says they hope to have that wait be 4 weeks. They emphasized that for the majority of people, claims are being processed in one week.

They are also paying out benefits to nearly 900,000 Washingtonians successfully.

When it comes to Scobba, her claim has since been denied.

As a food service employee, Scobba worked several different jobs prior to the pandemic. But she quit one of those jobs and that move she says is holding up benefits for all the other jobs she’s qualified to receive benefits for. Q13 News asked Levine about Scobba’s case on Thursday.

“If their earning, for any given week for their remaining jobs are too much then their deductions may wipe out any benefit they may make,” Levine said.

Scobba does not believe that situation applies to her so she plans on fighting the denial in the adjudication process set for July 1.

As for Dilley, she can only wait. She’s managed to survive so far through the generosity of friends lending her money, an understanding landlord and her union.

“That’s how I’ve made it, I don’t qualify for any programs, you know, like food stamps because I make too much money I feel really sad for people who have kids,” Dilley said.

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