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Thousands File For Unemployment Due To Coronavirus

Video Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL - Published
Thousands File For Unemployment Due To Coronavirus

Thousands File For Unemployment Due To Coronavirus

The Alabama Department Of Labor says they have gotten about a normal year's worth of unemployment claims in just a few weeks.

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Thousands File For Unemployment Due To Coronavirus

Able to do that.

New at ten... as the coronavirus spreads across the state - tens of thousands are filing for unemployment for the first time.

In fact - the alabama department of labor tells us that they've received about a normal year's worth of unemployment claims in just a few weeks!

Waay 31's will robinson-smith learned how they're dealing with the massive influx and how those waiting for their checks to arrive are feeling.

Normally, afternoons at high schools in jackson county would be a busy time, with student athletes training for their next big game.

But with school closed, scoreboards are perpetually dark and athletic facilities are locked.

For shelly wilbanks, that means she's temporarily out of a job.

Shelly wilbanks, athletic trainer very much so, nervous.

I was very upset.

I'm not one to hold my feelings back on that.

Wilbanks is an athletic trainer who has worked with student athletes at sylvania high school for seven years and at section high school for 17 years.

Shelly wilbanks, athletic trainer not only do i have my own two kids at home, but i think of all my athletes as my kids.

She says she was able to successfully apply online for two weeks of unemployment, but is still waiting on the money.

Shelly wilbanks, athletic trainer it's just so frustrating because i still haven't gotten paid for it and we still don't know about the whole $600 that the federal is going to put in it per week.

Wilbanks' story is not unique.

The alabama department of labor says it could take up to three weeks to receive benefits.

Across alabama, in the first two weeks of march, there were fewer than 2,000 claims each week.

But between the week ending on march 21 to the following week, the number of claims skyrocketed from about 11-thousand to nearly 81-thousand.

Department of labor spokeswoman tara hutchinson says they've made significant upgrades to their website and are addressing the massive number of phone calls.

Tara hutchinson, communications director, alabama department of labor we're in the process of retraining and re-utilizing employees from other divisions to help with that backlog.

And we're also considering outsourcing to a third-party vendor for another call center.

And until she can return to working with athletes, wilbanks says she's left in limbo.

Shelly wilbanks, athletic trainer you just kind of sit at home and wait.

It's very frustrating, very frustrating.

We have bills coming in, so they've got to be paid one way or another.

Will ll: hutchinson says they are also working to incorporate the changes to unemployment put in place by the federal cares act.

She asks that people be patient as they work to get claims processed and people paid.

Reporting in section, will robinson-smith, waay 31



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