THE INVESTIGATORS: Complaints continue for LWC one week after agency extended call center operations

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:23 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The complaints continue to pile up for the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) exactly one week after leadership within the agency extended the operations of call centers to help tackle more of the claims. Despite those changes, Daemon Powers is among many who tell WAFB they can’t even get through to a live person to help them.

“I’ve been trying to reach out to them since December 23rd,” said Powers.

Every single day, Powers says he calls LWC to check on his unemployment benefits but every time he tries to get answers, he runs into an automated system.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Powers how frustrating it is to get an automated message when he remains in a dire situation.

“It’s very frustrating but I try my best to stay strong,” Powers said. “But it’s only so long you can stay strong when it’s the only reliable income you have coming in.”

Powers was working two jobs before he got laid off last March but now his main focus between looking for a new job is trying to nail down his unemployment from LWC. He says it’s hard not to think that they’re being pushed aside and forgotten about.

“I would hate to look at it that way but I would say yeah,” said Powers.

Just last week, LWC Secretary, Ava Dejoie, told us they were doing whatever they could to get benefits out the door. She said they’ve hired more staff to tackle the thousands of calls that continue to flood in.

RELATED: THE INVESTIGATORS: LWC Secretary addresses delays, complaints as agency tackles unemployment claims

“We know that we have tremendous hold times and we’re asking for the patience of the public. That is very difficult to ask but we’re working to clear every single claim,” she said.

There were about 30,000 folks waiting for their claims to be cleared last week and the agency opened up their call center during evening and weekend hours to power through some of the calls.

“We are constantly, constantly hiring people and we continue to do that,” said Dejoie. “We are continuing to work with our call center.”

Powers finds it hard to believe though because he says no matter when he calls, he only gets the automated system and has not been able to get through to a live person in weeks.

“No not at all. That’s very unacceptable,” he said.

Powers showed the 9News Investigators proof that he’s submitted all of his documents, including his social security card and driver’s license to LWC and his hire account even shows where his claim is pending. Now he just wants the agency to do their part.

“Just step up, speed the process up and do the job. Give the people what’s rightfully owed to them,” Powers said.

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