Help! What if My State Unemployment Office Does Not Answer the Phone Around My Missing Claim – How Can I Get My Money?

This article was last updated on February 7

It’s no surprise that the high volume of pandemic-related unemployment benefit inquiries has overwhelmed some states’ call centers and websites, leading to delays and thousands stuck in limbo with the status of their claim and no idea when they will get their current and past benefits. Some are waiting on several thousands of dollars and are deep in debt as they wait for the money that is due to them.

I recently received the following email from a reader which summarized this sad state of affairs. I was able to research some of the reasons behind her issue and potential next steps so thought I could share this with others in a similar situation. Maybe this will help or give a little hope in these difficult times.

I tried filing in December [2020] so I could backdate to March [2020] and the system was down. So I called and actually got a representative and she told me that it was OK once it came back up I could file for backpay all the way to March 2020 but when the system came back up my application that was already in the system had a date changed to this year 2021 saying I could only go back to December 6 . I am crumbling at the thought of what I’m going to do and then I can’t get the back pay is there anyway I can do that?

Based on some advice I saw on your site I then contacted my state rep and her assistant said that she sent over my identification and appeal documents to their liaison at the state UI agency and I should be getting a call from the them; that was last Monday and I still haven’t gotten a call. Also she told me that other than getting confirmation that the liaison has received the paperwork they didn’t hear anything else back, which I take to mean that there’s nothing else that they can do or will do.

I also talked with the states federal representative’s office and they said they would check in with my state rep to see what was going on but other than that no other assistance was offered. 

The difference between somebody helping me to be able to recover last year‘s PUA  from March forward, which would include the emergency relief as well,  versus no help,  is the difference between being able to maintain my living arrangements with my children and staying afloat versus being  unable to pay any of my payments: mortgage, car, insurance credit cards, taxes ….anything. I am and have been actively pursuing finding a job and will continue to do so. I just don’t want to sink into a deeper hole which will have a ripple of fact and make it even harder to get back on my feet. The longer I stay out of work the harder it is for me to find a job as the employers look on favorably upon the gap in employment.  Do you have any further insight into how I can help my situation?

So here are something things the reader in the above example (and others in a similar situation) needs to be aware of an potential options to get some traction on their claim:

  • Under new guidelines passed in the CAA, CVOID Relief Bill 2020, that extended PUA and PEUC benefits by 11-weeks, a new clause was put in that limited backdating of claims to the first week of December 2020 (this would be the week ending 12/6 would be the first week in most states). This means that if you are pursuing a claim for retroactive enhanced benefits in 2020, which would have been funded under the CARES act, you need to ensure that your claim filing date accounts for that. This can only be done manually in most states via mail/fax. For example in IL, IDES has stated that If you were unable to file your claim because of capacity or system limitations, you will have an opportunity to discuss backdating your claim with a representative by calling the state UI agency.
  • In the above example the claimant did the right thing by calling their state representative’s office since they were not getting any traction via their state UI agency. But state representatives are no less busy with unemployment and other COVID related issues. I would suggest you stay persistent and keep contacting them until you hear something. Patience and persistence will pay off.
  • Since the Federal Government and Department of Labor (DOL) are setting guidelines for the enhanced unemployment programs many are trying to call them. However per the DOL site they have stated that the federal government has no authority to intervene in individual claims for benefits. They also confirmed claimants should contact the state unemployment insurance office handling your claim. So not much help there.
  • You can find some state UI agency contact numbers and alternative means to contact them as well. Please also see the comments for tips people are recommending like calling at a certain time of day, bypassing the call center reps or using a second language option. Social media has proved helpful for some, but again that will likely only help with general or overarching program questions. For case or claim specific items you need to get in touch with a state agent who can see your specific details and address issues that directly impact you
  • Also be aware that in many states reporting that the PUA and PEUC 11-week extensions are rolled out, there are several cases where certain claimant groups are unable to have the extra weeks automatically added to their claims due to complications with their situation that require further and/or manual processing by state UI agencies. Unfortunately thousands of claimants across many states are facing this situation and are stuck in limbo while they wait for state agents to process the backlog of claims and inquires that require manual intervention.

23 thoughts on “Help! What if My State Unemployment Office Does Not Answer the Phone Around My Missing Claim – How Can I Get My Money?

  1. Hello Andy,
    I am trying to help out someone to try to understand his claim (language barrier). So I personally do not fully understand how the system works but to some degree I can manage to explain what is going on. On January 2 2021, this individual filed for the period of Feb 2020 to October 2020, he returned to work in October 2020. The claim was denied on January 7 2021 however it was because he needed to provide his income which he later did via the protest/appeal process. He then received a re-determination in his favor explaining he is eligible for 57 weeks of benefits and has not yet received any benefit payment, in fact this is his first time applying for benefits. The issue is that the re- determination is effective December 6 2020 and so I don’t quite understand what happened to the period he originally filed for ? Feb 2020 to Oct 2020? Does the re-determination account for that period? Or does he need to call them to correct the date of December 6 2020? See he returned to work on October 1 2020, so with him working from this date until now, December 6 2020 until now doesn’t cover anything because his certifications indicated that he was working……..so what does he need to do to receive benefits for the time he was actually not working Feb 2020 to Oct 2020?
    Any guidance is appreciated :)

  2. My son filed for PUA in February of 2020. He got a letter approving him and immediately another letter advising that there were problems approving him. He has not received anything. Via emails to the Field Operations Manager in GDOL, it seems that there were too man tries to get into his pw or file, therefore his page was shut down or locked. We were given a phone number which was the local GDOL and another number that we cannot get a reply from. Emailed constantly but no more replies. Should he apply for the extension now? Via email ask for appointment. Reply was “not taking appointments at this time. Tried to contact the Commissioner of GDOL only to get an auto reply “not taking a appointments at this time”. We cannot get an answer in any way and the office is closed to the public. What can he do???? I have loaned him money that I thought I would get back when his PUA came in. I am on fixed income of SS only, age 80. Cannot help anymore. He cannot pay his child support and now his license has been suspended becuz he did not pay child support. HELP!, u

  3. My unemployment benefits expired on December 26th 2020. I was supposed to automatically be enrolled into the 11-week extended benefit program, I have been filing every week, and I have not seen a dime yet. When I call, I get robots who say that there is an outstanding issue with my claim. I have no idea what that may be, and am all too willing to help clear up anything that they have a question about, but it is 100% impossible to speak with anyone. Do you have any suggestions? Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance! We’re dying over here.

    1. Who do I message to ask a question about my La. unemployment case? I cant get through when I call the number!!

  4. Hey Andy!
    Not sure if you can help but i am in some insane loop. I keep getting denied for Unemployment and so I apply for PUA because I lost my job due to Covid Dec 2020. And PUA is denying me also saying i am eligible for unemployment not PUA. Today PUA said that my employer has not certified my weeks so that is why I keep getting denied for unemployment. I phoned my employer today HR office have not heard back but I am in some loop,,yes, no,,yes,,no. I had been employed since Oct 2019 and was working for Hospice-Chaplain. I need my weeks certified how do I move forward. Going to continue to keep calling Unemployment,, but it feels exhausting Thank you so much!!

    1. Which state? You need to get your employer to certify (for regular UI) or file an exception

    2. I applied in a very I got denied regular UI then it kicked me to Pua I think I was getting it until November and that’s when someone tried to get into my account and it locked me out someone stole my ID so I had to go to ID me finally I was able to do it week later and then I have not received any payment since then I’ve been certifying every week on the UI on the Pua login and again it keeps telling me it has been certified I’ll get the next business days with Bill be process but nothing I have not received not $1 it does not give me an update I have not going to email tell me what to do next I even sit in my I uploaded a copy of my ID and my social anyone has any advice please tell me I also keep calling and I’m getting the same thing that everyone else is nothing he said he’ll call me back they don’t I can’t get through they said you can make an appointment on Monday between 8 and 9 I called back to back to back to back for the whole hour let’s pass Monday and I didn’t get anyone please help if y’all can thank you

  5. everytime you called for an appointment at 5or 5:30 its says all appointments have been taken to call back around 5 the next business .But you get the same response at 5:15. can someone please help with finding another way of talking with someone. Thank.You

  6. Sorry, I didn’t realize this site spans all states.
    I’m in NJ, and the UI claims phone lines have not been answering for the last 2 days (Feb 17, 18), ending with “…please call back on the next business day”. Has anyone spoken to a person this week?
    Thanks.

  7. What’s the deal with everbody waiting
    Till dec20 or Jan 21 to remember that the last day they worked was march 13 of 2020? Isn’t that when the extra 600 a week started being given away. Half the people got that were working everyday or had never worked day. Now everybody else thinks they should be able to file a claim on this 300 giveaway and backdate it till march 2020 and get that money all in one lump sum. By god be nice everybody on earth get 18 20 grand for doing nothing? People who have worked deserve it.! What chaps my ass is when they try and help the working people all
    The deadbeats think they are being treated unfair and end up with more And destroy it for the people who need an deserve it. People were being called
    Back to work and government was giving them twice why they were earning tk stay home.
    Seen people shut down there business’s to draw unemployment you start giving everbody 8-900$ a week
    And let them stay home they got no desire to get out and work. Why the country in the shape it’s In. Everybody got their hand out. Government going to
    Give money away give them a job
    To go with it. Working on the infrastructure of this country that’s falling apart. Can’t work roads And bridges and other projects because all the working mans taxe dollars going to some no count.The younger generation start talking about signing up on their checks when the graduate high school an think they are going to have to work for a living. It’s a way of life. Anymore people don’t work live better than a man that works his ass off. Man works hard And buys a home gov buy your sorry neighbor one because they say it’s only fair if ones got it everyone deserved one. This inemplomemt is a good
    Example working man pays it in. He should have been takin care of first. Instead they give it to all An cause him bullshit because people trying to scam and call every five minutes because (THEIR) extra 300 is a day late and they can’t go to Walmart or because the time out of cigarettes.
    Better be thankful for what you get and quit bitching it could always get worse

    1. Strve,
      First of all, I thought this was a site/forum to try to help people as Andy spends an insane amount of time doing this to try to help others. He goes out of his way, without any individual gain for himself, to try to help people in need to better understand the system which is so convoluted and confusing to many. For this, he deserves a great deal of praise and gratitude! I didnt realize that this was a forum for others like yourself to go on a rant about your philosophical beliefs or to just plain simply put others down and try to demean them. You also seem to paint with a broad brush with all your accusations and assumptions. For example, I will not speak for others, but simply myself as obviously I’m not familiar with every single individuals situation as you seem to be or again just lump every individual into the same category of being degenerates and lazy and bad people. I personally have worked a full time job every year since I was 16 years old. In many years, I worked a full time job, along with a part time one as well. Even during my last year of high school and all 4 years of college I worked a full time job as well. I am now 51 years old. The only exception to me not working a full time job is my 4 years serving in the marines where i did 2 tours of duty overseas during the gulf war. The other time is since the beginning of last year when i was let go of my job of 27 years for “downsizing” purposes I was told. Up until that point, I had never collected unemployment benefits in my life. I certainly paid into them, and for you to try to belittle everyone for collecting unemployment benefits, and lump all of us into just one huge category of lazy, degenerates, and “taking advantage of the system” is utterly unacceptable, ignorant, uneducated, and downright insulting to someone like myself and I’m sure many others with your blanket statements! If your miserable with your own life, don’t try to put others down to make yourself feel self righteous. I’m sure your putting your thoughts on this forum, which is not what its intended for, because family members or friends of yours are probably tired of hearing your rants and general negativity so you had to find another outlet for your self righteous thoughts. Do me and everyone else a favor by taking those thoughts and negativity somewhere else where people actually want to hear it, and keep being a miserable person yourself as I’m sure that’s a great way to go through life!!

      1. Ignore those who belittle people that are currently in dire straits and need the money to keep a roof over their head, and food in the fridge. There are some people that are so miserable in their own lives that they need to belittle others to make themselves feel better. That is a reflection of them, NOT you so do not even waste your time reading those kind of posts. That being said, a big misunderstanding, is that NONE of us paid into the unemployment system. No matter how long you worked, your EMPLOYER is the one that pays into the unemployment insurance fund which is why some companies will fight a former employer trying to claim for benefits (if they were fired for other reasons), because the more people that claim UI benefits, the more that their cost of UI insurance goes up.

        Things will get better as we now have the vaccine. Please ignore those trolls. They do not know your situation and karma has a way of hitting people like that hard eventually. Wishing you good luck and again I think by end of summer, more and more places will be open.

        1. Anne Marie,
          Thank you very much for your kind words and putting things into their proper perspective. I probably shouldn’t have even wasted my time in responding to his ignorant, and uninformed comments, or even acknowledged him whatsoever. I just let my emotions get the better of me and responded accordingly. Everything you said is 100 percent correct! And I am very appreciative of you taking the time to reach out. Your a very kind and decent human being by doing that! And thanks as well for educating me about how the unemployment system is funded. It’s always good to have knowledge and I was obviously off base with my knowledge of that so I appreciate you informing me. Thanks again for your comments to me. It means a lot!

    2. Wow. Just wow. As Chandler from friend would put it. “Can you BE anymore utterly wrong.” I get you are pissed and I get you feel that SOMEBODY, is screwing you. Why? Why I say would you be dumb enough to fall for the, “What no money? Blame the poor that have none it’s all them.” They take a tiny percent of everything all day every day. Not all deadbeats and in fact most over the last four years have fallen into poverty by no fault of their own. It’s myths like yours that keep systems of inequality alive. You want fair jobs and pay comparable to the rest of the world? Don’t yell at the little guy. Talk to the big guys that set you rates and layoff based on tax loopholes.

      God please my them smarter.

  8. Andy,
    I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate the help!! Thanks for looking into it for me!! Not quite sure what you meant by they are doing a manual notification of peuc claims and review? Also my original benefit year started on july 2019 and ended july 2020 but after I finished getting extended benefits it went to this past November and I noticed they gave me a new benefit year starting july 2020 and ending july 2021. Not quite sure why they did that or how it affects me with this 11 week peuc extension? Is that bad or good for me? Im just mentioning this because your response to me mentioned “benefit year changed, and 52 weeks max and I didnt understand what you meant by that. Please help to clarify all of this for me as I’m a nervous wreck and your the only one who understands this. I can’t stress enough how much your response and all your help means to me!!! I dont know what I would do without you. Probably be hospitalized….Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

  9. Andy,
    Could you please help! I’m desperate!! I’m in illinois. I exhausted all my benefits back in November including ui, peuc, eb. I believe I should still be eligible for the additional 11 weeks of peuc. The problem is Illinois was very specific as far as pua but was very vague and a little over my head with the language used in their most recent twitter announcement and ides website page about those of us who exhausted everything awhile ago like me and if/when we might get that 11 weeks. Could you PLEASE help by giving me and others your interpretation of what they said and if/when we might get the additional 11 weeks. Thanks so much in advance!!!!

      1. Andy,
        I still have yet to be contacted by ides in any way(email, letter, call). I have already tried to explain my situation to you so I won’t repeat it to you again as I dont want to be a bother. Am I basically out of luck with ides and probably not going to get the 11 week peuc extension? You tried to respond back to me but I really didnt completely understand as to what you meant about manual checks and reviews and new benefit years and 52 weeks as they changed my benefit year as I previously explained in my last post so I assume that’s bad I’m guessing but figuring I’m probably out of luck since I haven’t heard anything and benefits ran out in November. So sorry to be such a big pain to you all the time but just having a nervous breakdown over here with major problems and concerns financially. Thanks my friend!!

      2. Andy,
        I beg for your help!! In illinois. Exhausted all benefits back in November(ui peuc and extended benefits). Originally benefit year was july 2019 to
        July 2020. Then for some reason(dont know why), they changed it to july 2020- july 2021. Am I basically out of luck to receive the 11 week peuc extension as I’ve not heard a thing from illinois? You said you would look into it for me so I’m so sorry to bother you again. It’s just that I’m beyond freaking out because I’m on the verge of financial ruin and real bad situations for my family. You mentioned something about if your benefit year changed that might affect something but I really didn’t understand that. Anyways do I have any chance at all in your opinion of getting the 11 week peuc extension or am I basically out of luck since I’ve not been notified by ides in any way. I also did not file a new claim as I read that you said not to do this as it might complicate matters. Am just so desperate and on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of my family. Just I beg you for your honest opinion so I have some knowledge if I have any chance at all to receive the 11 week peuc extension so I can plan accordingly for the sake of my family. I beg you for your response and thank you in advance more than I could ever express in words. God bless you Andy!!

        1. Thanks John. Sorry for the delayed response, been swamped.

          Yes, your benefit year changing will affect your WBA (base amount) and if you get Regular UI or PEUC. If you no longer qualify for this, you should file for PUA. However please note, that IL is manually processing PEUC claims (see article in link below) and has yet to even update those who are transition between benefit years. IDES is a mess and their systems are so old that they have resorted to manual processing. This may mean your PEUC claim (and you should be eligible for the extra 11 weeks, if you got the 13 previous weeks) could still be under review and you will be notified when ready. Don’t file a new claim unless advised to do so.

          • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): The CAA provides an additional 11 weeks of PEUC benefits. However, claimant transition to PEUC will vary based on how and when claimants exhaust eligibility for benefits within the various regular and federal unemployment programs. Transition will be evaluated and determined on a claimant-by-claimant basis, and claimants will be notified of their transitions.

          • Transition Language Between Programs or with a New Benefit Year: The Department’s subject-matter experts are working through the transition language necessary to maintain eligibility for claimants who may exhaust various programs. This involves programming and testing changes within all programs.

          See IL article and comments for more info – https://www.savingtoinvest.com/illinois-il-division-of-unemployment-insurance-600-fpuc-peuc-and-pua/

        2. Andy,
          God bless you!! Thank you so much for your response back to me and the information. Your a wonderful human being and I am so thankful and grateful to you!! Sincerely thank you Andy!!,

          Forever grateful,
          John k

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