Unemployment limbo between Roane Co. woman and state Labor Dept. resolved

Investigations

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) — For a Roane County woman having to wait five months for news of her state unemployment benefits has been frustrating.

After losing her job last year to the coronavirus pandemic, Lisa Ewing found part-time work with the U.S. Census Bureau. Apparently, what has held up her claim is verification of federal documents that were sent to Nashville.

Ewing, the one-time front office worker for a manufacturing company that went out of business, did eventually find a job last fall with the federal government, but like thousands of other Tennessee claimants, she hit a speed bump in the road, not an uncommon occurrence in the unemployment process.

In Kingston, Ewing is like thousands of people in Tennessee who are unemployed due to the virus. Daily, she checks the status of her claim on the state’s jobs4TN.gov website for an update on her unemployment benefits.

She’s a single mother of three older kids, and says her case was being adjudicated, meaning the state was checking the claim’s status.

“They tell me that they understand my frustration but there is nothing more that they can do. It’s rough because life still goes on. You still have bills to pay and other expenses that still occur,” said Ewing.

Last year Ewing didn’t like being out of work due to the pandemic, so she found part-time employment with the US Census Bureau as an enumerator. While under review, the state Labor Department asked her to send a copy of her wage form and two federal documents verifying she worked for the Census Bureau.

“It is still on the site where I initially sent it in, but it is showing that it hasn’t been reviewed. It hasn’t been looked at, at all,” Ewing said.

Since her benefits status was in limbo, we asked the State Labor Department last week to check Ewing’s status. Surprisingly, during our interview, her employment status was filled with numbers.

All of a sudden, it was approved and paid. Next on the list for Ewing was to pay some bills, “I believe God is so good, I’m still current, he has not allowed me to fall behind on anything.”

The state Labor Department says it expects her benefits to appear in her account in the next few days.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development says there are still thousands of unemployment claims pending.

The state says it is working as fast as it can, considering the high number of claims it still has to clear.

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