By Patrick Warner
I have been working in New Hampshire as a content writer for an educational publishing firm for upwards of two years. In the middle of July, the company (GEX, Inc.) ran out of work for me and has since considered me off the clock. I was forced to the remainder of my vacation time to cover my time off. I ran out of vacation hours in the beginning of August and have since applied for unemployment in the state of New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire unemployment office has been incredibly non-transparent. I first filed on August 2nd, and received initial information on August 4th, and then a determination of eligibility on August 6th. Since then, I have not received any correspondence regarding my claim. On August 18th, I called the unemployment office to check the status of my claim. At that time, I was informed that I had been deemed eligible and that my claim was accepted and I should receive payment on the next payment date, August 25th, and an email confirming payment on the 24th.
The 24th came and I received no such email, so I decided to give the unemployment office another call. It was then I was informed that I had apparently missed a correspondence dated August 4th (the same day I received a “New Claim Instruction Sheet”) that was due on August 11th.
This is my first time ever applying for unemployment benefits, and I have diligently checked my email and the online UI portal everyday since I have applied and I am certain I had received no such request for information. After explaining the details of my situation, I was informed my claim got flagged to be revised by a supervisor. No timeline was given as to when I should expect to hear back other than it would be “in the coming days.”
The next day (August 25th), I called back to see if there was any changes made or anything I could do to expedite the process. At this time, I was informed the “request for information” I had not received was seemingly the initial fact finding questionnaire, of which I am sure I filled out the day I applied. Again, I was told to wait for a call from a supervisor “in the coming days”.
It seems to me that the reason my unemployment is being held up is because of erroneous errors on the behalf of the unemployment office in New Hampshire. There lack of transparency and clear correspondence has left me without payment for nearly a month while forcing me to wait patiently for a call back from the office.
While I understand that these are unprecedented times, family and friends I know that have applied for unemployment in Massachusetts have had timely and helpful correspondence and payment from the office. It seems that there is a general lack of experienced people at the NH unemployment office that has left fully qualified tax paying citizens high and dry during these difficult times.
Personally, I have a number of bills to pay and have been unable to pay them without help from family and friends. I understand that I am lucky in this situation because of the support systems I have in place, but I cannot imagine the number of people without such support in NH that are currently struggling to make ends meet while dealing with a seemingly incompetent system. That fact that I have received disjointed information from the unemployment office and that there is no mechanism to actually speak to a supervisor makes it seem that the system is severely underfunded to the detriment of the tax payer.
I am not sure if this is a story that you would be interested in covering, but I think there may be something going on here that deserves further investigation and/or elucidation to the public and any other individuals that may be dealing with similar issues.
Thank you for your time,
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