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Unemployed Take to Waiting for Hours to Check on Benefits | News

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Unemployed Take to Waiting for Hours to Check on Benefits

LAS VEGAS -- The unemployment line keeps getting longer. Nevada JobConnect's offices are packed with people trying to get their unemployment benefits reinstated. They say the phone lines don't work, so they're being forced to wait in line.

The line at JobConnect's office near Desert Inn and Maryland Parkway had over 100 people in it early Wednesday morning, waiting to get unemployment funds. It stretched around the building.

"I have $5 left, so I need my extended benefits," said a man named John.

Roughly 189,000 Nevadans are currently unemployed. All are calling the same number, jamming the phone lines.

"They owe me nine weeks of back pay and they have no clue where my money is at. They tell me it's there and I have a balance, but they don't know where it's at.,, they don't know how long it's going to take to pay me, and I have to keep coming here to call them. Listen, I'm going to be homeless shortly and they don't care," said a man named Jason.

For days, unemployed men and women have lined up in the middle of the night hoping to get into JobConnect at 7 a.m. to make one call. It has become a waiting game, with 50,000 people calling to get their benefits reinstated.

"I've been trying ever since Thursday to get through and a friend of mine told me to come to JobConnect to get on their phones and you'll get through. So here I am," said J.W.

"What's creating those lines, and what we need you to help the public understand, that if you are calling again to check on the status of your claim, it's really impacting the line bandwidth," said Larry Mosley with the Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation.

So to help alleviate some of the problems, DETR has announced the creation of a new phone line that will specifically handle questions and status updates on benefits. The department also announced a website that will allow people to file for that federal extension online.

The average weekly benefit is still about $300. Many of the people waiting in line say they have received retroactive checks due to the recent Congressional extensions.