Coast residents frustrated with unemployment filing system

Coast residents frustrated with unemployment filing system

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Julie Sigler had chills as she looked through the window into the empty Waffle House in D’Iberville, where she used to work.

“It’s very weird,” she said. “Nothing in there. Never seen it like that. Ever.”

Not many others have either.

Julie Sigler was laid off this week from her job at Waffle House in D’Iberville after the chain closed down more than a fifth of its restaurants.

“It’s very stressful, wondering how you’re going to pay your bills. You can’t depend on anything really right now at this point," Sigler said.

It’s not only her, but nearly her entire family.

“My mom, my fiancé, three of my friends, and just about all the employees that work here," she said.

Now comes an even higher stress: filing for unemployment with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, which has had its system overwhelmed with requests.

“I got on there, filed for an unemployment claim, put in everything I was supposed to, and so they told me to call this number,” Stigler said. “And I called the number and it rang once and every number online that I’ve tried to call did the same thing.”

She’s not the only one. Residents have been emailing WLOX to share their horror stories.

Susie Summers of Gulfport has had similar problems, spending five hours one evening on the phone with nothing accomplished.

The next day began with more of the same, but then, success.

“So then I tried the IT line again, and after about 20 minutes I got through to their recording, and then after two hours, I got through to a human,” she said with a smile. “And then after I got off the phone with her, I logged in and then after that, it was seamless. Got my mom’s claim filed and we’ve got to submit some paperwork and she’ll be good to go, hopefully.”

She suggested people not call in the afternoon, but in the morning and call often.

“They tell you to go online, but a lot of people can’t go online because their accounts are messed up,” Summers said. “So, what you have to do is you have to at least get through IT line and they can help you get your account set up so you can go online, and once you’re online, it’s like 20 minutes. Super simple.”

For more information regarding unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, CLICK HERE.

FULL INTERVIEW: MDES Executive Director Jackie Turner

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