Alternative Ways to Contact your State Unemployment Office For Answers to Your UI PUA, PEUC and FPUC ($600) Questions

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This article was last updated on July 16

It’s no secret that it’s been a challenge to try and get in touch with someone at your local state unemployment office for any unemployment claim and processing questions. Many readers have commented that it took them several hours and hundreds of attempts to try and speak to someone around their unemployment questions. And even if one does get through to a live representative they don’t always get an answer from the call center person they speak to, who often is not even aware of the new provisions in place and really just there to triage calls. It’s been very frustrating and creating a lot of financial hardship as you can see from some of the comments below.

Moe, from Florida commented, “who do I contact for missing FPUC payments? Every rep you speak with gives you a different answer. So far last week I had one that gives the normal “there’s nothing we can do” response. Then there was one rep who was going to give me a phone number but it sounded like the 833-FLapply #, and we started to argue on that and she claimed it was a different #, but the call got disconnected. And then there was one who told me they have a system they can see the dates the FPUC payments were made, but it’s a separate screen only they can see. I’m not sure why this has to be such a mystery. I mean they have to have some way of knowing how much and what dates they payments they are issuing are for. Why is this so difficult? Everything with my account is for the most part fine now, except I never got the retro payment for the weeks 4/04 and 4/11 and I’ve my account effective date is 3/22. People many people that filed after me have made claims that all their payments are caught up. It doesn’t make sense.

Kristen who is in a tough spot commented, “I’m a substitute teacher in Texas and my benefits just ran out i only got paid for one week this week due to regular benefits since I’m part time covid emergency benefits only qualified it says they will contact us on whether are benefits are extended per case in Texas but I’ve gotten nothing by mail call or email and i cannot get anyone on the phone anywhere to ask if im gonna get the extended benefits or not and when ill know or any correspondence regarding it since i should being that i cannot go back to work yet and did and since school isn’t back in yet i’m not sure if qualify for the summer months or not this is my first year doing it and i don’t know what i’m supposed to do just that i’ve got kids bills to pay and don’t know now since i wasn’t expecting to be totally dropped and hoping to receive notice by now that i might auto extend on the benefits like it says we will online for the extra benefits amounts after exhausted this last week i’m not being paid for i just don’t know how i’m gonna live now can anyone in the same situation help?

State unemployment offices are already overburdened and short on staff trying to manage the surge in claims. On top of this they’re using old and antiquated systems that have struggled to handle all the processing/certification that needs to take place for the enhanced unemployment provisions enacted this year. But from what I’m seeing via readers on this site and other forums is that there are a few other ways (and often more effective) that you can use to get in touch with your state UI agency other than via phone. Below are some alternate options you can use if you are finding calling and staying on hold for several hours is not working for you.

Niocolo shared her frustrations with trying to get in touch with someone, “Can someone tell me how they are getting through the phone system to actually speak with an agent? I have tried repeatedly over a 4 week period all three phone numbers provided and have only gotten through, put on hold, and after 30 minutes or so of waiting on hold, got to speak with an agent. Result of discussion was that I had to wait for an email. That was two weeks ago. Anyway, my question is simply this, “What are you doing to get through the phone system?” Does the time of day or day of week matter in terms of your success? Thanks in advance. Good luck to everyone trying to navigate through this process.”

Social Media – Facebook &Twitter

Most state UI agencies are actually pretty active on social media in posting updates to share the latest information on unemployment payments and/or delays. You can see relevant social media handles on some of the individual state unemployment pages I have set up for specific contact information (see via the menu above) but most large unemployment agencies have Facebook, Reddit and Twitter accounts. I follow a number on Twitter and Facebook, so you can follow me to get curated updates. From the state UI agency social media pages you can even try sending direct/private messages to get answers to your questions and also see the hundreds of comments from people likely in a similar boat to you. Just don’t share any confidential or personal information.

Social Media pages for state unemployment agencies

Email

Surprisingly a lot of readers have said emailing your state unemployment department or agency has worked more effectively than trying to get a live agent. In fact under federal guidelines for these programs, states must provide claimants with alternate modes of contact, which may include email, and communicate with the claimant
based on his or her preferred method of contact. If the state contacts the claimant via email and the email is returned, the state must attempt to contact the claimant by U.S. mail.

While the response time may not be amazing it is actually a good way to get some specific feedback on your case and delays in payments. Again you should go the actual state unemployment page and look under the contact us section to get the official email (which should be ending with a .gov). I’ll repeat it again, but don’t share your SSN or other private information over email or to callers whose identity is not verified, unless you have to.

Your Local, State or District representative

In cases where you cannot get through to someone or are just a completely frustrated with the answers you’ve been getting you should try contacting your local, state or district representative. Look online for your relevant representative and their contact details. They can often get you the answer or at least get you a better contact for someone at the state UI agency with whom you can speak too. You will have to show that you have tried to contact the state UI agency yourself, that your claim is valid and you meet all the eligibility criteria but this option has also been proven to work in some states where it has been nearly impossible to get through to someone at the state unemployment office.

Angelina from NJ commented, “My sister-in-law suggested that I call my local councilman’s office because they are assisting people who need to get through to unemployment. I called and they took down my information and had somebody call me from my local Senator’s office and the man said that they have an unemployment liaison at each Senator’s office that helps people resolve their unemployment issues so people who are having an extremely difficult time getting through they will hand your case over to their liaison and the liasion will contact Unemployment on your behalf and resolve your issue. My sister-in-law’s husband had been trying to get through for nearly eight weeks and he contacted his local councilman’s office and they told him within 15 days he should have a resolution and two weeks later he got all his money. I called the day before yesterday and I was told that the process could take 15 days to be patient but they are working on it and the man that I spoke to asked that I pass on this information to anyone struggling to get through to unemployment, he urges you all to contact your local Senator’s office or councilman’s office for assistance. Good luck to all I hope this helps & I will keep you all posted I am owed 8 weeks in back payments.

One thing you should definitely avoid is trying to use a third-party or online agency who will want to charge you to follow up on your claim. This is likely just gonna be a scam or waste of money, and will cost you probably more than you would get from unemployment.

If you have found any effective ways of getting in touch with someone in your state, please leave a comment (and your state) below.

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32 thoughts on “Alternative Ways to Contact your State Unemployment Office For Answers to Your UI PUA, PEUC and FPUC ($600) Questions

  1. I went to file my PUA today and it said it was cancelled terminated or withdrawn. Then I noticed a message in red that stated don’t do anything at this time and you will be notified with instructions on what to do. When I checked my claim status it said no active claim. I had funds left over as of Dec 26. Will these roll over? Did I mess things up worse? Not sure what’s going on!

  2. I filled for PUA, and was approved… I upload everything they have asked for and more to show proof of my identity… It has been 3 months since iv heard anything in the mail or by phone an Email. I have been submitting my weekly claims and have NOT received a payment yet! Iv called the PUA customer service line after hundred of attempts getting through and get told its a waiting game or it shouldn’t be much longer now… I’m so stressed out! I have no one to depend on to help with anything…. Need house essentials? Gas? Help with back Bills? Food? or even a roof over your head? FORGET ABOUT IT! I put applications in but its hard to even get to an interview or even back or forth to a job with no money for gas. Not counting my car insurance is over due, so now do I attempt to find work and get pulled over? Life is very stressful and sad!!! People cant even afford house hold necessities, as simple as TP, Garbage Bags, Food, Cleaning supplies, clothes, Shampoos, soaps ect. SMH!! What has America come to? And we are supposed to be the best and richest country out here!? GTFOH! That why the rest of these country’s are able to support their people and provide assistance since the beginning of this horrible deadly pandemic….

  3. Alabama is so hard to get any answers at all. I have filed now for 17 weeks and cannot get any answers for PUA assistance. Before it said I was approved for a certain amount. Now it says 0$. It says I have been paid and I have been approved. I have not received anything and cannot get in touch with anybody. I call every day and email everyday. This is totally so unprofessional. I have exhausted all of my money and I don’t kmow where my next meal or if I will kicked out on the streets any day. This is so bad. Alabama Unemployment is a crock.

  4. You can not get ahold of anyone who can help you they say give me your contact info and you will get a call back within 72 hours but I have been told that for months and I have never had anyone contact me and I am just out of options I have lost every single thing I worked hard for and this is unelectable I have neve drawn unemployment before now and I have been homeless 3 times because of the carelessness

  5. I live in Ga and I filed for unemployment in Feb and it was denied. I filed an appeal and it was reversed in April. I have not received any money for Feb. I have left 92 messages at the Cartersville office, 13 messages for Sharon Holliday who is the manager there and sent 71 emails and no one will call me. I have contacted some elected officials and the unemployment office still won’t respond. I have called many offices in Ga and still no answers. I am at a total loss as of what to do.

  6. I filed for my benefits on 08/16/2020 and I still haven’t receive my unemployment as of 11/12/2020. Can someone tell me what is going on. I really need my unemployment to pay rent, bills and child support. I don’t know what to do.

  7. My name is Jennifer. I lost hours due to the virus so I filed for PUA in PA. My hours were reduced from 04/24/2020 to 08/01/2020. However, when I completed the application online, the monetary determination letter shows the claim effective date as 08/30/20 so I am unable to complete the weekly certification for the weeks my hours were cut. I have not been able to get in touch with anyone for them to advise how can I goo back and fill in these dates??

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I also live in PA and had a similar issue with PUA. You need to request the PUA group to backdate your claim to 4/24/20 so that the weekly certifications from that date are made available for you to complete.
      You will find information on this issue if you Login to the PUA website and go to MY DASHBOARD, in the Messages and Notifications section, or elsewhere on that page, you should find a link called REQUEST BACKDATING or BACK DATE REQUEST. Following is a copy of the instructions that you will find by following that link.
      If you are looking to have the effective date of your claim earlier than the week in which you opened
      your claim, you can call the PUA Call Center at 855-284-8545 OR you can send an email request to
      UCpua@pa.gov. In the Subject line of the email, indicate BACK DATE REQUEST and in the body please
      indicate exactly when and how COVID affected your employment or self-employment and which weeks
      you wish to claim. (The effect of COVID-19 on your employment must be due to one of the COVID-19
      related reasons in the CARES Act for PUA eligibility).
      For example, in your email you could tell us…”I want to backdate to March 22nd because I
      have not worked since March 20th and where I worked has remained closed due to the
      Governor’s closure orders.” OR “I want to go back to March 15th because I had to temporarily
      close my business until June 6th due to the Governor’s closure orders. Please note I don’t
      need to claim as of June 7th because I have re-opened my business as of June 8th.

      As you may have heard, it’s tough to get through to the Call Center by phone, I’m pretty sure that I read on the PUA website today that the average wait time for a response to e-mail is now 1 week – not TOO bad! When I first looked into this issue in July, the response time was 6 weeks,

  8. I’m in NH benefit year ran out August 29th I had been collecting up until March 2020 and not realized in March that I could apply for extended benefits so from March -July 29th I didn’t receive benefits I most likely qualified for including that extra $600 can I back date for those weeks?
    Also since my benefit year end on August 29th I had reopened to extend benefits 9/3 was allowed benefit and 9/4 got determination that I didn’t qualify because I didn’t make the $700to receive regular UI which I know in order to qualify for peuc you have to be denied regular UI So last week 9/6 I reopened to see if I qualify for extended benefits and it states in workforce last week claimed was 9/6 but I did not receive any determination for reopening on the 6th. Now when I go to file it gives me option to file weekly or reopen because I may qualify for PUA OR PEUC OR OTHER EXTENDED BENEFITS!! I emailed the director and he wasn’t much help so this week 9/13 do i really have to reopen again to file for peuc or pua considering I just reopened LAST week for what I thought was peuc or do I file weekly benefits? I just don’t want to reopen again if I actually did that last week and these are just generic options for everyone at this point. I didn’t receive payment yet for 9/6 which I should have on 9/9 per previous experience for my payment DD. This is very confusing and I’ve looked online for 2 days to get an answer on State and Fed sites and still no direct answer. Someone please help is like to certify my claim today since its Sunday

    1. Me too…
      Started this undertaking in June 2020…and here it is Nov.2020..
      Did everything they said e…and now..They say ..I have to appeal it..I’ve been denied..after after I wD excited

  9. My payments for the last six months have not been sent, because the DOL in NY has not received a copy of my SS card and my passport. I sent them twice! I can’t send them FedEx because it’s a P.O.box. After spending days and days getting a call through, the DOL told me to fax the documents, even though the instructions say DO NOT FAX these. She said it’s very important that I call back the following day. I faxed the stuff and spent the entire next day try to get a call through. No luck. Just a long automated phone system, then “We are busy. Call back later.” It IS later. I can’t afford to pay my bills and my cat doesn’t want to share her food. HELP!

  10. I have not received my 600.00 backpay and I was approved in June and received my payment but never the back pay I am eligible for. I have the letter approving me for back payments from 2-2-2020 but never received them can someone please help me

    1. I have an approval letter as well saying I qualified Mar 15. My back pay Mar 15th- July 25th is stuck somewhere in limbo and the only answer i get is, “I don’t know why, just keep waiting.” My monthly bills haven’t liked hearing that same answer from me to them either.

  11. I was reveiving my $600 supplemental April, May and the 3 first weeks of June. This deposit stopped the last week of June. Hahaha to get in touch with an DOL agent is almost impossible. I’ve been calling during July wasting 10 hours on the phone every day and I heard ” we can not take your call right now, call later…”
    For my surprise I found 600 hundreds in the bank for the last week of July. However I am trying to contact DOL because I didn’t receive 4 weeks of my $600 Supplemental.

  12. I need some assistamce i have been waiting for my assistance is their any help for me and my family.. Please someone get back to me

    1. I applied in may I have a active account everything was approved. I fill out my weekly certification. They start date of my claim goes back to Marc 3. My account states ever weekly certification is scheduled to be paid. My benefits go down every time I file. I still haven’t t seen a dime. I’ve been calling for months they’ve changed the numbers so many times they say talk to Tina the virtual assistant have fun with that
      Still
      Waiting

  13. I am self-employed, and have only recently filed for UI in Florida. I am only eligible for PUA, being self-employed, and I believe I am also supposed to be eligible under the CARES act, for an additional $600.00 per week. However- there seems to be no way to get any information, or explanation about my case when I log into the system. I am thankful- it seems somehow I have been approved for a weekly amount- but how did they decide on that? It is less than half of what I make per week when working. There is no explanation, nowhere to ask, nowhere to “claim” back pay- even though I made it clear when my first day of unemployment began. There is no indication as to what might be coming, what further assistance I can expect. There is no place on the website to ask specific questions, and I get no emails from them telling me anything. What do I do?

  14. I was told my check was mailed in July 8th and I still haven’t received nothing I’m in Arkansas please help

  15. I am in New York City. The FPUC has ended here on 7/26/2020 last day to certify for the enhanced $600.
    I still haven’t received my retroactive backpay benefits. I did not receive any Docusign email. I am scared. Will I receive my back pay benefits? I am eligible as stated by Gov. Cuomo
    But now I’m scared that the state will have no funds. How is the back pay work? I am patiently waiting what else can I do?

  16. Can anyone answer me on in PA for pua I applied July 5 the got email on claim letter of eligibility an I opted for direct deposit via on a visa check card I ordered previous to filing.The card is activated but I still haven’t gotten a penny.Ivsee many statements if getting payment within a few days however I did read once we’re it said 4weeks an to not contact them bc it’s a waste of there time.So my question is it normal to still be waiting?PLEASE ANYONE HELP.I

    1. My husband got layed off due to covid on May26th and was told to file june 14th. We got his determination letter a week later and it was approved..Still waiting for his checks and this is august 4th..Havent received either so far..impossible to get thru to speak to someone..we called our state rep to see if they could do anything and they were goin to check it…Got a phone call from his office last week to see if we got it yet…unfortunately bills cant wait.we have a morgage and 2 car payments…what the hell our we suppose to do. we are out of options and money..Jackie, we are from PA also..

    2. I’m in the same situation! I was approved and got the card but no money still. I been waiting for months. Can’t get thru to the office.

    3. Hi my name’s Jackie too.I literally was in the same boat.I clicked direct deposit bc I also ordered an got a “MUA” visa card.And months we’re going by with me checking daily well my dear here’s your answer.Go into your pua account and change the direct deposit to the card thingy.They will send u a “reliacard” in the mail(be aware that it will look like junk mail an comes from a different state don’t accidentally throw it away)Than follow activation directs..I did that then a week later got my card and than was able to claim all my back weeks an got it a I a lump some around 7-10 days later.Some ppl got there’s in 2-3 days.THEY DONT EMPATHIZE THAT THEY AREN’T DOING DIRECT DEPOSIT IDK WHY ITS EVEN AN OPTION.Rest assure that this is the answer my dear.Many blessings.Go get your money honey.If u need any further info in any way don’t hesitate to ask.

    4. I’ve been waiting 13 weeks I got the card and it’s activated as well. Still nothing.

  17. i have tried emailing 7 times ,calling hundreds of times with not even a spot in que to wait in line i have exhausted all avenues without a single thing done about my situation ….im beyond frustrated …this is crazy to say the least…they should hire a handful of people to answer the phones for people to get assistance .i still have no way of backdating my claim and have not reached anyone to assist me with this …

  18. I have been receiving my benefits every week onto my debit card fine, once I file my weekly certification and it’s approved and payment shows to be sent out, however this week payment were sent on on the 20th of July to my UC debit card and I still don’t have the money posted to my debit card . Where is the money. Every week I normally recieved my PUA Wednesday. Today is Wednesday and no money in my account even though it shows on the PUA website a payment was made to my debit card? Who can I notify?

  19. In CA EDD they don’t answer emails but the 833-978-2511 line worked for me everytime I’ve called. It can take hours of calling then a long wait on hold + most reps can’t do jack but put you on a callback, so keep calling until u get a real rep that can do something. Its 8am-8pm 7day/wk

    1. Im also in CA, i have been unemployed since march and i have applied twice, but they put me under regular unemployment to pay me $102 a week, when i have specifically in details included it happened due to COVID they disqualified me… on what grounds i have no clue. i have called the number you have provided literarily for months and the 800-300-5616 and i got not even a wait time, right away it says they have too many callers ahead call later. I have a 6 year old who now does school from home since march. im the only who takes care of her, and i have literarily gotten into so much debt. Can someone else help us, how can we reach them. I know of people who literarily lying and abusing the system and getting paid still, i just need to feed my kid and give her the essentials. who can tell us where to go or call?

  20. I live in Maryland. I filed a PEUC application on 7/12/2020 but believe that I entered the wrong effective date. After 5 days of calling my state’s UI phone number as soon as they open only to be notified that no one was available and the call disconnected, I’m beyond frustrated! For whatever reason, I was able to “hold for an agent” around 11am today without the call being disconnected. The estimated wait time announced was “greater than 10 minutes” which I’ve heard actually means hours. I was given the option to enter a phone number for an agent to call me without losing my place in the queue. I selected this option only to hear a follow-up message that no agent was available to call me back and to call back at a later time.

    I can’t help but believe that this whole debacle has nothing to do with mismanagement of high volume, but rather intentional interference with people receiving unemployment compensation to which they are entitled.

    1. I am also in Md. and have called thousands of times and e-mailed 6 times to different addresses and have gotten nowhere since May 24th. I did get a cal!!l back from a real person and after 40 minutes was told I have to e-mail them…no response! I call every morning at 7 and recording already says try again later…disgusted with govenment!!!

    2. the same thing happened to me. I called from end of march and could never get through, finally was able to borrow a laptop and apply online in the beginning of this month. if i had to log out to get info, it would start over and I know i put in 03/20/2020. i was approved but they didnt backdate. again i had to call to get it resolved. i actually spoke to a person that said it wasnt allowing him to do that and that it had to be escalated and check website in 48 to 72 hours. i wont let this go. I am owed this and was not my fault i couldnt file. i only have a home phone, no smart phone and am borrowing this to try to not lose everything. ill keep calling but

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