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Employment Law/unemployment benefits

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Question
Dear Ms. deMarteleire,
I am from Massachusetts. I have been unemployed for 10 weeks now. I filed for unemployment benefits the day after I was let go from my job of 8 years d/t poor store performance and not meeting our quarterly numbers. Nothing related to my actual job performance I was assured.
I have not received any money yet from unemployment. I call every week and they tell me the same thing "they are backed up". I have spoken to a supervisor who told me the same thing. I was contacted by an adjuster a few weeks ago but I was not home. I called back but it wasn't Thursday, which is my day to call (based on my SS #). I called back on Thurs. but he didn't answer and didn't return my call. I called again on Friday - can't get through because my day to call is Thursday!!! I went down to the office but was told that he would contact me "when he could - they are all backed up". I am so frustrated by this process and in the meantime I haven't paid any bills for the past 10 weeks! Do you have any idea who I can call to get some assitance? Someone suggested the Atty. Generla, others say my state rep. I don't want to be a pain but I need to pay my rent and bills!
Thank you so much for any assistance/advice you can give me.

Answer
Grace - The two suggestions that were made to you are worth checking into.  Another option is to call your local Legal Services office and ask for their assistance.  If it is taking the UC Office several months to process claims, perhaps it is time for a lawsuit to force them to be more efficient.  

Meanwhile, contact all of your creditors and explain to them that you have been laid off and that you are waiting for your UC benefits to come through.  Creditors are more likely to hold off if they know what the problem is.  Fortunately, you will receive retroactive benefits, so you should at least be able to repay what you owe when the checks arrive.

I understand that this is a difficult time for you, and wish you luck in your efforts to find another job.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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