Couple Waited More Over A Year For IN To Pay Unemployment Claim; 'The Most Frustrating Thing I've Ever Been Through In My Life'

CBS 2 is Working for Chicago, and has reported extensively on the troubles with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, but our neighbors to the east don't always have a picnic either, when it comes to collecting unemployment benefits.

Video Transcript

- We are working for Chicago, and have reported extensively on the troubles with the Illinois Department of Employment Security. But our neighbors to the east, they don't have a picnic either, trying to collect unemployment benefits there. Morning Insider Lauren Victory introduces us to a Northwest Indiana viewer who only got his money after we got involved.

LISA WOJCK: What does it take for a person to just get something done?

MICHAEL WOJCK: Some relief.

LISA WOJCK: Something.

LAUREN VICTORY: Lisa and Michael Wojck have tag teamed in the unemployment game turned waiting game. Michael applied for benefits back in March of 2020. But even as a dynamic duo--

MICHAEL WOJCK: We've gone absolutely nowhere.

LAUREN VICTORY: 36 years as an automobile auctioneer taught Michael that to get what you want, you've got to act fast. So he quickly filed for unemployment benefits, and--

MICHAEL WOJCK: They denied us.

LAUREN VICTORY: The state claimed it didn't have proof of his 2018 or 2019 income. So he appealed and resubmitted the requested documents.

LISA WOJCK: We have given them all the proof that they need.

LAUREN VICTORY: But the claim stayed in limbo. What's worse, when they reached out for help, they got instructions that didn't make any sense.

MICHAEL WOJCK: This is like the most frustrating thing I've ever been through in my life.

LAUREN VICTORY: The most bizarre suggestion? From going once, going twice, sold, to Indiana's Department of Workforce Development.

MICHAEL WOJCK: What I needed to do was, to file the unemployment claim in Peach Tree, Georgia.

LAUREN VICTORY: Where his company is headquartered. But Michael both lives and works in Indiana.

MICHAEL WOJCK: It's absolutely ridiculous.

LAUREN VICTORY: After CBS 2 reached out to the Indiana Unemployment Department, it finally got its act together.

LISA WOJCK: They wanted him to file a brand new unemployment insurance claim.

LAUREN VICTORY: The state realized Michael qualified for a certain kind of benefit, since he's considered a gig worker, and not traditional unemployment assistance.

LISA WOJCK: Are you supposed to lose everything you've ever worked for because someone can't fix the problem that you're having?

LAUREN VICTORY: A question they've been sitting on for a year, and counting. Lauren Victory, CBS 2 News.

- Michael tells us he has finally begun receiving unemployment benefits and back pay. We'll stay on his case until everything is current and paid. For more stories to help you navigate the challenging job market right now, check out the Working For Chicago section in our CBS Chicago app.