Employees battle unemployment during coronavirus outbreak

Local

FLOWOOD, Miss.(WJTV) – Since the coronavirus outbreak, many across the country are battling the unemployment office after being laid off.

Tankia Robinson, who’s worked at Applebees since January, is one of those people.

For the past week, she’s struggled to find a way to file for unemployment with the phone line being busy and website not responding.

“I was on hold for 30 minutes the first time before they hung up on me, the second time I was on hold for 35 minutes before they hung up on me, and then the third time I was on the phone for two and a half hours before they hung up on me.”

Robinson just graduated from Hinds Community College in December with an Associates Degree in Applied Science. She worked at Applebees to gain experience in the food industry. However, when she arrived at work the week of March 16, she was told she wasn’t needed due to customers not being allowed in the restaurant.

“Applebee’s had already shut their restaurants down,” she explained. “They did what they had to do to protect the customers and the employees. Applebees did a great job. I work for a great company.” 

Although this layoff is temporary until the coronavirus outbreak passes, she’s still left questioning how her family is going to pull through with no income or help from the unemployment office.

12 News Lanaya Lewis asked Robinson, “What are you most fearful of right now about this situation?”

Robinson responded, “Running out of food. Running out of water. I know they have a declaration to where they can’t cut our utilities off, but what if I run out of food.“ 

12 News did speak to Mississippi Employment Security Department Director Jackie Turner, Monday, who says the agency is working to keep up with the surge in unemployment claims. At this time they’re taking workers deemed “non-essential” and training them to handle calls.

To learn more about filing for unemployment, click here.

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