Friday, February 26, 2010

NM makes HuffPost!!! (not good)

Man Racks Up Giant Phone Bill Trying to Claim Unemployment Check
First Posted: 02-26-10 03:43 PM | Updated: 02-26-10 04:53 PM
As part of our Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up compelling local stories about the victims of the recession.

A 72-year old man spent so much time on hold with a state unemployment agency trying to claim his benefits that he racked up a $700 cell phone bill, reports Jeremy Joyola of Eyewitness News 4 in Albuquerque.

Ernie Sanchez called the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, a government-run unemployment relief agency over a thousand times trying to get his unemployment money to cover his basic needs, but could not seem to get through. Now, he told Joyola, he has to use almost all of the benefits to pay his Verizon bill.

"It's almost the same amount for two weeks of benefits that I was trying to get," Sanchez said.

Joyola writes: "The bill shows Sanchez made 1,114 calls to the unemployment office in one month. Some days, it took hundreds of calls to get through -- each call costing $0.45. When he would get through, he says he would be put on hold. One time, he was on hold for almost 3 1/2 hours."

That one phone call cost Sanchez nearly $100, the article reports..

"I feel cheated in some way," Sanchez said.
The original story can be found on KOB's website, at Man racks up huge cell bill to claim unemployment, which notes that
Workforce Solutions officials say they're dealing with an unprecedented amount of people who are unemployed.

The department admits it has a problem with 50,000 unemployed New Mexicans trying to get through on a phone system that is not designed to handle the load.
Have a nice day.

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