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The crushing domino effect of waiting on unemployment

Posted at 9:56 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 23:15:06-05

BALTIMORE — How do you decide what you can cut off out of your life to survive?

Dozens of people are telling us how much hope they’ve lost and how little time they have left to survive off what they have.

The state is planning on giving out a $1,000 grant to people waiting on unemployment but as the losses keep coming for people that’s too little too late for a lot of people.

“I called unemployment insurance over 5,000 times,” said Brenda Travers.

Travers calls at 6:58 a.m. every morning because the phone lines open at 7.

“By 7:02 my call is concluded without an answer.”

For Brenda and hundreds of others who have reached out— the hundreds of new employees the Department of Labor hired, isn't making a difference.

In the meantime the trickle down effect is devastating.

“I’ve had to make choices as to whether not I would have bath soap or toothpaste and dish detergent,” said Travers. “I’ve had to resolve in choosing tooth paste and dish detergent, using dish detergent to wash myself. This is not something a 63-year-old woman has to say to anyone.”

Elesa Reynolds, a single mother, was getting unemployment until the beginning of the year.

She can’t move back in with her mother because she is high risk for COVID and can’t go back to school because her daughter is doing school from home.

“The last thing I need is for her to sick,” Reynolds said. “Not being able to work because I’m a single parent leaves my hands tied. I’m basically looking forward to my car insurance is about to get dropped. I’m going to end up going getting evicted and I’m going to lose everything because I can’t get through to anybody.”

Since the new year she's been trying to get answers as to why the payments stopped.

“My bills do not stop, so I’m trying to figure it out and getting through to a live agent is terrible. You can’t get through to anyone on the phone. On the computer it’s all automated.”

Every unanswered call and account on hold— a life stuck in neutral while the bills pile up.

“There is to many people out here that are suffering so desperately, and we need some help so badly,” said Travers.

Mallory Sofastaii and I are doing everything in our power to help.

If you reach out to us we will forward your information to the Department of Labor and try and give you some links that may help.

Our emails are eddie@wmar.com and Mallory@wmar.com