After 10 weeks without a job and no help from the state Labor Department, her 401(k) was a potential life preserver to keep her family afloat.
She was laid off in August and her husband, too, was about to join the unemployment line.
“I got really nervous because . . . we are looking for employment but that assistance is there to help families just pay the bills and get along and find work,” Ramirez said.
As a last ditch effort, she reached out to her state representative, Roger Kane.
Two hours later, someone from the labor department got back to her. A day after that, her first unemployment insurance payment was deposited into her bank account.
“I believe I would not have received any benefits and so does Roger Kane’s office,” said Ramirez, whose family moved to Knoxville from San Diego 11 years ago. “But if (they) didn’t put a fire under them I probably really wouldn’t have a deposit today. I firmly believe that. That’s total speculation but no one was getting back to me about my claim. The timing is odd.”
Ramirez isn’t alone. She’s one of about a dozen people in the past few months to reach out to WBIR as part of its 10Listens program.
All say the same thing: They lost their job months ago and can’t reach anyone at the unemployment office. The department’s computer system isn’t that good and nor are the call centers. They haven’t received any money and they’re at wits end.
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