'It's not fair. It's not right:' People still struggling to get answers on unemployment benefits

NOW: ’It’s not fair. It’s not right:’ People still struggling to get answers on unemployment benefits

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thirty-six thousand more people in Wisconsin have applied for unemployment in the last seven days. 

Many people who applied weeks ago say they're still having issues getting benefits. 

"When I look at the weeks that I filed, it says pending pending, pending. Pending for what?" said Jennifer Robinson. 

At 58, she said she had to go to the food pantry for the first time. 

"I have never been to a food pantry, never, and I went to a food pantry just so I could have food," she said. 

She said she had been furloughed from her part-time job. When she was working that job, she said she was also receiving some unemployment benefits. Now, she says she's getting nothing. 

"It's so many of us out here that are hurting. 40 dollars. I have 40 dollars. 40. It's not fair. It's not right," she said. 

While her unemployment claims are pending, she also hasn't received the $600 weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. 

She hasn't been able to get to anyone on the phone at the Department of Workforce Development to ask why. 

"They're telling us we're getting it, we're getting it, we're getting it, but when?" said Mike Fairfield. 

He was working as a bus driver. 

"I'm five weeks into it now and I'm still waiting for my waiting week, back pay, as well as four weeks of the unemployment $600 payment," he said. 

He said he's frustrated with the lack of answers and information about the process. 

"Me and a whole lot of other people, all we want is somebody to reach out to us and tell us what's going on," he said. 

"The little glimmers of hope that you would have in a situation like this are taken away from you, and it's just not right," said Peter O'Malley. 

He said three of his $600 payments were actually $510, but one was for the full amount and he hadn't changed anything on his account. 

"You know what, it's actually the difference in being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent," he said. 

The Department of Workforce Development has answered some questions about the unemployment backlog here. 

CBS 58 Investigates Marks Stevens interviewed Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. Find that interview here. 

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