INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — CBS4 Investigates discovered issues within the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that left at least one Hoosier without unemployment money he earned. After we got involved, the state did pay the man back and closed his case.
But, the state still puts some blame on the employee for the lengthy filing process even though the documents show Gary Allen, the man who wanted to apply for unemployment, did everything DWD asked of him.
Gary was laid off from his job in late October 2021.
“We had our car payment; we have utilities to pay,” Gary said. “We still have to go to the grocery store, and we wasn’t getting no help from the state of Indiana.”
Gary filed for unemployment one month after he was laid off. He faced his next obstacle when he tried to apply for help.
“I’ve never filed for unemployment and when I needed unemployment, it’s been a hassle,” Gary said. “It’s been a runaround.”
An error message alerted Gary that someone else opened an account using his social security number. His main concern, of course, was that someone was receiving the money he was owed.
“They were able to tell them that someone had used his social security number, they could see that it had been going on for a while,” Michelle Allen, Gary’s wife, said. “They could tell that it was not him that was receiving the money. When he asked them to flag the account, they’re like, no we can’t do that.”
“They could tell that it was not him that was receiving the money. When he asked them to flag the account, they’re like, no we can’t do that.”
DWD claims no one received money using Gary’s social security number. They explained someone tried to create an unemployment account, transposed two numbers, thus filing under Gary’s SSN.
But, DWD says the claim did not advance from there. However, no one from the state let Gary know.
“Finally somebody from DWD has gotten ahold of me only because of you going to the commissioner and talking to them,” Gary said.
In an email, DWD claims Gary did not submit his form correctly. They insist he sent the form to “an unknown fax number not associated with DWD” and therefore the agency never received it.
However, the same number Gary sent the claim to, is the same number on the state’s form and website.
“The state of Indiana has failed me and my family,” Gary said.
This ordeal even forced Gary to dip into his 401K early to pay bills.
“It’s a huge, it’s a huge problem because when you take that out, they hit you with about 40% on that,” Gary said.
Process of filing for unemployment
As soon as a person becomes unemployed, they are able to apply for unemployment benefits. This is the information needed to apply:
- a valid email address which will then become your Uplink Username.
- driver’s license or valid ID
- an address
- social security number
- date of birth
- phone number.
- last employer’s name, mailing address, phone number, dates of employment and reason you are unemployed.
- Bank routing number and account number if choosing direct deposit as your payment option (Key2Benefits prepaid MasterCard® is also available)
Each week, a person will need to file weekly vouchers through the Uplink system.
Within 10 business days of filing, DWD said the applicant will receive a Monetary Determination of Eligibility form. If there are no issues with the claim, DWD should determine whether you’re eligible within 21 days.
DWD said the agency does not send claimants text messages, so if you receive a text claiming it’s from DWD, do not open the link.
The DWD website said the best way to get in touch with the agency is to call the Benefit Call Center at (800)891-6499 or you can email the UI Contact Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DWD asks you to include this information in your email:
- Are you a claimant or an employer?
- Your last name
- The last 4 digits of your social security number or employee account number
- Zip code of residence
Response from the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
DWD would not agree to an on-camera interview, but after we pushed for answers in cases like Gary’s, they sent a statement:
“DWD is constantly striving to improve its systems and the experience for people utilizing its services. We recognize that navigating the unemployment insurance system can be challenging. Claimants can call 1-800-891-6499 for personalized help.”
Before being pushed for comment, the state did provide this statement with its decline of the interview request:
“To protect the privacy of claimants, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development does not comment on individual claimant issues.
Generally, unemployment insurance fraud can come in many forms, including:
· individuals filing a claim and providing false information
· individuals filing new claims using someone’s stolen personal information, either from purchasing it on the dark web, stealing it through phishing or other fraudulent scams (referred to as identity theft), and/or
· individuals taking over a legitimate claimant’s account through stealing their username, password and other personally identifiable information from various scams, typically on social websites (referred to as claim hijacking). Individuals who believe they may be a victim of fraud can visit: www.unemployment.in.gov and choose the Report Unemployment Fraud link. DWD will conduct an investigation and, if a claim is determined to be fraudulent, will work with law enforcement agencies and other entities to ensure appropriate prosecution and recovery of funds where possible.”