Newly unemployed workers struggle through unemployment process

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) – The coronavirus has taken jobs away from millions of hardworking Americans.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security director says since this pandemic, they’ve been receiving upwards of 6,000 calls a day.

Most people have not been able to get through.

Joshua Livesay works as a cook at Downunder International Pub in Tupelo.

Because of the coronavirus, he and his coworker Kyle Miller’s careers have come to a screeching halt.

“I’ve been working for 16 years and I’ve never been without a job,” said Livesay.

After trying to file for unemployment, the restaurant duo says the process only makes them feel re-victimized all over again.

“Going onto the website, which looks like it’s from 1994, it’s very difficult to navigate,” said Livesay

“When I filed my weekly claim, it told me that I had to call the center to receive my unemployment,” Miller agreed.

Miller says he resorted to calling the unemployment call center 100 times a day and still wasn’t able to get anyone on the other end of the phone.

So far, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security started offering Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, benefits offered to anyone affected by the coronavirus.

But, Livesay says it still doesn’t make the process any easier.

“They were asking us reasons why we quit our job and if we have another job lined up and ready for it. With everything that’s going on, it should just be a simple disaster,” said Livesay.

Miller and Livesay say they hope restaurants will be able to fully reopen on May 11, after the ‘Safer at Home’ mandate expires.