NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - "I have not been able to receive any of my benefits or get a hold of anyone,” Crystal Thompson said.

When it comes to applying for unemployment benefits, Lawrenceburg resident Crystal Thompson tells News 4 she has tried everything.

"I have called. Yesterday, I started calling at 8am and called all the way up until 4pm, almost 40 something times and still I have not been able to speak to a representative,” Thompson said.

Like many right now, Thompson can’t do her usual job because of the coronavirus.

“I was quarantined and taken off of my job. I’m a home health aide. I do not receive any other benefits,” Thompson said.

It’s to the point now where she’s really struggling to just buy food.

“If I do not get them, I do not receive any other assistance, we're not gonna have simple things such as groceries or toiletries, things that we just really need,” Thompson said.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development recognizes people’s frustration, but points to an unprecedented demand overwhelming the system.

Spokesperson Chris Cannon says on March 31, the Jobs4TN website experienced capacity issues due to a 2000% increase in usage.

The Department of Labor says their technical team, along with the website’s vendor, quickly addressed the situation by adding capacity to the system to improve responsiveness.

By late Tuesday afternoon, the site started performing at an improved rate.

Last week, the Department of Labor announced that they had over 36,000 people apply for unemployment.

Read more here.

“With tens of thousands of additional people accessing Jobs4TN to file for unemployment we’re doing everything possible to increase capacity, on the website in our call centers, everywhere possible so we can be as responsive as possible and help folks get the unemployment benefits they need,” Cannon said.

Thompson knows there’s thousand of people just like her, but reality is sinking in. It’s the first of the month, bills need to be paid, and she needs to eat.

“You just sort of sit in your home behind the door and there’s nothing I can do about it, because there’s no where for me to go. There’s no more numbers to call,” Thompson said.

The only thing she hopes is that her application gets fixed so she can get some type of financial relief.

For more information on applying for unemployment insurance benefits, click here.

 

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