EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of Rhode Islanders had their unemployment benefits cut earlier this month as federal programs created during the pandemic came to an end.
This led to confusion for some recipients, including one 12 News viewer who said it was a “nightmare” trying to find answers.
Miguel DeMedeiros of East Providence said he wasn’t getting anywhere for weeks until he reached out to 12 Responds.
“I didn’t receive any information about what benefit I’d be receiving, whether it was federal funds or regular unemployment,” he said.
DeMedeiros said he applied for unemployment in August and waited through the end of the moth to contact the R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) because his claim was processing. When he finally got through, he said he received payment for the weeks he missed, but hasn’t gotten anything since.
“I put my Social Security number in, I put my PIN number in, you know, you answer the questions and that’s it,” he said.
“Should I continue to wait, or should I try to reach out to somebody there?” DeMedeiros asked. “I don’t know, I’m in limbo.”
After 12 Responds got in touch with the DLT, DeMedeiros said he not only got some answers, but also several weeks’ worth of back payment.
“The person who’s actually benefiting from the service, it should be easier to get this done,” he added.
A spokesperson for the DLT tells 12 News that if someone receives a payment of a lump sum, it will likely be more than a week’s worth, but the number of weeks included depends on what they’re owed.
If you’re having trouble getting through to the DLT, the spokesperson suggested calling on Saturday mornings.