New Haven (WTNH) - Frustrations are mounting for the unemployed in Connecticut.These days, just trying to apply for benefits is a job in itselfand one that has a lot of people looking for help.
Mondays and Tuesdays are the busiest days for the state'sunemployment office. In turn, 60-percent of people try to call orprocess their claims on those days.
So, the Department of Labor has told News Channel 8 to tellpeople it's worth it to wait. But so many are feeling anxiety aboutthe economy and unemployment, they're doing everything they can toget out ahead.
Abu Bakr is a quality assurance specialist. "I was working withan outfit called Frozen Specialties and they actually closed thedivision in West Haven on October 17th," Bakr, of West Haven,said.
He scrambled and got a short-term assignment with the city thatended December 5th.
"I find myself back in the job search along with a lot of otherpeople, you know, unfortunately," Bakr said.
The numbers are growing every week. In fact, the ConnecticutDepartment of Labor is now processing 120,000 unemployment claims aweek. They've extended their hours, are staying open on holidaysand are training 20 new employees hoping to have them ready to goin three weeks.
But there are so many people needing their help right now; ithas simply overwhelmed the system. Frustration is mounting, fromthe time it takes to get through the automated system to thegeneral lack of opportunities out there.
"It's terrible, construction is down, trucking is down, it'shard to find a job," Gerald Hughes, of East Haven, said.
Hughes is a regular at the Connecticut Works center in Hamden.He revealed he has tried to take advantage of the help here, eventaking a computer course to get up to speed.
Bakr is also pursuing all avenues, signing up with tempagencies. He said just staying positive goes a long way.
"I've had some leads, actually I'm going on a walk-thrutomorrow," Bakr said.
But with 600,000 jobs lost, last month, nationwide (the most in35 years) it's anything but easy.
"I'm trying to stick it out but if something good comes along,I'll try it, I mean, I'm willing to try anything," Hughes said.
It is difficult all around. But for some, it is worse thanothers.
After ten years as a clerk at the federal courthouse in NewHaven, Michelle Delgobbo was out of a job. There was a severancepackage that ran out in January.
"Three weeks ago, I filed my first claim," Delgobbo said.
She went through the automated unemployment claim system and wastold her benefits would kick-in shortly.
"You call and you wait all day to get through and then you getthrough and you wait for the check to come and it doesn't come,"she said.
Because she was a federal employee, the state must contact thegovernment, instead of a business, for proof of her employment.This means that two bureaucracies are involved in the process.
"The only thing the state could tell me is, you know how thegovernment is, they're very slow processing paperwork," shesaid.
News Channel 8 decided to follow up with the human resourcesdepartment at the court. We were told they have never receivedpaperwork from the state.
News Channel 8 called the Department of Labor who's now trackingdown her case to find out where the hold-up is. In the meantime,Delgobbo is taking care of a four-year-old and trying to plan awedding with no income and no answers; all the while pounding thepavement looking for a new job.
"It's just tough for me, it was tough for me to get laid off, Imean, you know, you work somewhere for 10-and-a-half years, you payinto unemployment and you expect to be compensated," she said."Especially for something like that when it was beyond my controlto lose my job."
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