Unemployment Saga, Getting close to a solution

The saga begins at the end of this story - New Life Event

The saga starts here - How Not To Get Unemployment Benefits!

8/26/2021 

I got a call from a UI agent today.  The first time I spoke with somebody without having to call them.  Together we updated some information and worked on my initial claim.

Now my account is unlocked.  I had one action item, but the agent and I completed that while we were on the phone.  I am supposed to get a call from an Adjudicator tomorrow between 9am and 12pm.  This is the most progress I made since the beginning of this journey in June.

I followed the advice provided by Ann Hindman.  I started Step 1 on Monday by sending (a well-crafted, polite) email to my district state representatives.  On Tuesday, I did step two.  I sent a mass emailing to the folks in the email list Ann provided. 

It’s not in the instructions, but in a post, Ann suggested sending the emails as BCC, not TO or CC.  I put my email address in the TO field, Dayne Freeman (Assistant Secretary UI) in the CC field, and 11 of 23 email addresses in the list.   I sent the same email to the other half of the list today, but I don’t know if I really needed to.

This morning, I got an email from one of the representatives.  I replied with a thank you email and mentioned about the difference in how many days it was going to take.  I put that in another post earlier.  Maybe that help?  I don’t know.

Initial Email to MD State Representives

From: Jesimmons @ comcast.net

Sent: Monday, August 23, 2021 12:01 PM
To: dana jones @ house.state.md.us
Subject: Difficulty collecting Unemployment Benefits

The Honorable Dana C. Jones
District 30A
House Office Building, Room 152
6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
Office: (804) 698-1062

RE: Difficulty collecting Unemployment Benefits

Dear, Representative Jones,

My name is Jesse Simmons. I used to work for a company in your district. I hope you can give me some direction on what to do. My representative was unable to help.  I live in Virginia but worked in Maryland as a contractor.  I have been unemployed now for 10 weeks.  Despite filing for unemployment, I have not been able to collect any benefits. I contacted the Maryland Department of Labor many times with no resolution.

For 25 years, I worked for various logistics and information technology companies as a contractor, rarely having a break between contracts. On June 30, 2021, funding for my current contract ran out, and I became unemployed.  Since I’m a resident of Virginia, I started the unemployment filing process through the Virginia Unemployment Commission.  However, I was turned down because the company I worked for is based in Maryland. I had to apply for unemployment through the Maryland Department of Labor.

The Maryland system is so overwhelmed that during the application process, I kept getting kicked out.  I tried many times. I finally got in and set up an account. I followed the instructions and submitted additional documents proving my identity, a copy of my driver’s license and birth certificate.  I received the customary email confirmation indicating my account was created.  After that, I got no response. My application was complete, and everything was approved, but I didn’t hear anything further.  When I log into the (Maryland BEACON) portal, there was nothing there. I could not submit a weekly unemployment claim or do anything else.  I didn’t know what was going on.

I called the Maryland Department of Labor. After numerous tries, I finally got through to a representative. The representative told me my application was flagged as fraudulent and is now under investigation. She said that I would have to submit a case request and I would get help through them.  I would have to resubmit my driver’s license and birth certificate.  She gave me a case number.  After that, I heard nothing and never got an Action Item in the portal to submit the documents.  The confirmation email for the case said it would take 5 to 10 days before I would be notified. I waited but was never notified.

This is a nightmare!  It took me a week to finally get an account set up, another two weeks to find out that I’m under investigation for fraud. They assumed it was fraud because I’m out of state and they didn’t like the image of my driver’s license and birth certificate I submitted.  I got a case number, but they haven’t gotten to my case yet.

I called the Virginia unemployment agency, but they told me they can’t help. I have to go to Maryland.

On July 29th, I called the Maryland Department of Labor again. After numerous tries, I finally got through to a different representative. The representative told me my application was flagged as fraudulent and is now under investigation. She said that I would have to submit a case request and I would get help through them.  I was getting the same exact story as before.  She gave me a new Case Number but this time I got a new action item in the portal to submit my ID documents.  I submitted my documents as instructed.  I heard nothing since.  I never received any notification or confirmation. I am not able to submit weekly claims and have not been paid any unemployment compensation.

I called several times in August.  In all, I was told four times that I needed to upload my ID documents.  I did so three times.  When I tried the fourth time, the system kept failing and would not let me upload the files.  I contacted the Maryland Department of Labor again and the agent told me my claim was in review.  She told me to be patient because of the enormous backlog.

I understand I’m not the only one who is not getting benefits.  It’s happening to a lot of people in Maryland and since I’m not a Marylander, I feel as if I’m a low priority case.

Sincerely,

Jesse E. Simmons Jr.
(804) ###-####
### Maritime Court
Chester, Virginia

Former Employer:
Advantech Inc.
2661 Riva Road, Suite 1050
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

WWW.AdvanTech-Inc.com



Reply from Representative

From: Jones, Dana Delegate
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2021 10:44 AM
To: jesimmons @ comcast.net
Subject: Re: Difficulty collecting Unemployment Benefits

 Hi Jesse, 

 I am so sorry to hear about your problems with the Maryland UI system. I have submitted your case information into our legislative portal which flags your case as "in need of assistance."

 Additionally, if you wanted to forward me your identification documents I can send them directly to DLLR to try and get them approved. 

 Best, 


Lydia McPherson

Chief of Staff
Delegate Dana Jones
District 30A, Anne Arundel County
410-841-3211



Thank you email to Representive

From: jesimmons @ comcast.net 
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2021 1:27 PM
To: Jones, Dana Delegate
Subject: RE: Difficulty collecting Unemployment Benefits

 Lydia McPherson

Chief of Staff
Delegate Dana Jones
District 30A, Anne Arundel County
410-841-3211

RE: Difficulty collecting Unemployment Benefits Claimant ID: 135840

I really appreciate you taking the time to help me.   I am no more important than the thousands of other unemployed people in the same situation, many of whom have been waiting to receive benefits for much longer than I. Other than my [Virginia] state representative, you are the only one who has personally taken the time to provide help and follow through!

Attached are the ID documents you asked for.

I received case number (1245812) from the Division of Unemployment Insurance, on my behalf from you.  My concern is, I received an Auto-generated email that was slightly different than the other emails.  The older ones said it may take 5 to 10 business days.  The new one you created said it may take 10-15 business days.

Case# 1235949:

We have received your request and are working on providing you with feedback or a resolution. This may take up to 5 to 10 business days. Please be sure to reference your ticket number as noted on the subject line.

Case# 1245812:

The Division of Unemployment Insurance has received a request for unemployment assistance on your behalf from your legislator. We will attempt to contact you within 10-15 business days to provide you with feedback or a resolution to your inquiry. Please be sure to reference your ticket number as noted on the subject line.

I neither received feedback or updates for any of the cases, nor has anyone ever contacted me.

Case

Again, thank you so much for your time. I value the help you've given me.

Sincerely,

Jesse E. Simmons Jr.
(804) ###-####
### Maritime Court
Chester, Virginia



Email sent to Division of Unemployment  

From: jesimmons @ comcast.net
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 11:38 AM
To: Dayne freeman @ Maryland.gov
Cc: jesimmons @ comcast.net
Bcc: 

Subject: UI Issues Claimant ID: 13548921

To whom it may concern,

I became unemployed on June 30, 2021, I am a resident of Virginia. The company I worked for is in Annapolis, Maryland, therefore, I had to apply for unemployment in Maryland. My difficulties began the day I applied. Here is the sequence of events:

1. On day one, I created an account by filling in all the required information.  When I logged into the Beacon Portal, the first Action Item I had was to upload my Driver’s License and birth certificate to prove my identification.  I did so and heard nothing more after that.

2. Day 11: 7/10/2021 – I Called multiple times, finally got through to an agent. Found out my account was flagged as fraudulent. The Agent opened a ticket (934270) and said I’ll need to upload my ID documents again. Email said it will take 5 to 10 days. The portal never got fixed.

3. Day 15: 7/14/2021 – I Called multiple times, finally got through to an agent. Found out my account was still flagged as fraudulent. The Agent opened a ticket (946691) and said I’ll need to upload my ID documents again. This time I was able to upload new ID documents. Email said it will take 5 to 10 days. I never heard anything more and couldn’t do anything in the portal.

4. Day 30: 7/29/2021 - Called multiple times again, finally got through to an agent. Story didn’t change. My account was still flagged as fraudulent. Agent opened a ticket (987227) and said I’ll need to upload my ID documents again. This time the portal was fixed (again). I attempted to upload my documents. I Kept getting an error and was not able to up my documents.  I tried calling back but gave up after a while. I was not able to upload my documents

5. Day 35: I Contacted my state representative. she couldn’t help but referred me back to the Virginia Employment Commission. I Contacted the Virginia Employment Commission, No help there since I was employed in Maryland. I wrote a letter to Governor Hogan. His reply just talked about how many people the Maryland Labor Department already helped and how great they are. I wrote to the representatives in District 30A; the company I worked for is in their district. I still could not submit claims.

6. Day 52: 8/20/2021 - Called multiple times again and again, finally got through to an agent. The story changed this time. I found out that my account was waiting to be reviewed. The agent told me to be patient because of the large backlog. Now, the portal seems to be working. I’m seeing more information, but there is no way to submit anything.  I think this is ticket 1035949, but I’m not sure. 

 

Wait

I completed all the requirements, including everything in the Maryland Workforce Exchange System, but I’m applying for work using Virginia’s employment web site, not MWE. I already had a few contacts and interviews. I was offered a job but it doesn’t start until November.

Today is August 24th, 56 Days since I became unemployed. I still have to pay utility, and medical bills, plus a mortgage and car payments.  I understand that I’m not the only one having issues.  I’ve been very patient, but I can’t afford to wait any longer. Please help.

Attached are some files and information I was not asked for.

Thank You,

Jesse E. Simmons Jr.
(804) ###-####
### Maritime Court
Chester, Virginia

 

 

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