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Pekin couple shares struggles of getting unemployment

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One Pekin couple is tired of hearing the same automatic voice recording.

Melody Krigbaum said when she was laid off last year, it was easy to file for unemployment.

"I had no issues whatever. I actually got things resolved. Anytime I had issues I drove over there and got it taken care of," said Krigbaum.

Since then, Melody has been working part-time jobs while she looked for another full-time job.

When the pandemic hit, the unemployment office told her not to worry, her benefits will be extended.

Melody said it didn't happen.

"They said I'd still receive the stimulus pay, the extra $600 a week even though my unemployment would be running out. They also advised me that there would be a pandemic unemployment act where I could receive benefits for an additional 13 weeks," explained Krigbaum.

Adding to the stress, now Melody's husband has also been laid off due to COVID-19.

They've been struggling to reach someone at the unemployment office.

"You're hearing what day you should certify, what day you should call in if you don't have the capability of laptops. You hear all this stuff and then you hear we're sorry we have an extremely high amount of calls," said Krigbaum.

That's because the Illinois Department of Employment Security said unemployment claims are 10 times higher right now than a year ago.

Govenor Prtizker said the state has hired more people to help with the backlog but it hasn't helped Melody reach a person before being disconnected.

Krigbaum said she and her husband call about 100 times a day.

"Trying to make sure everything is paid the way it needs to be paid. We don't want our credit to suffer. We have children. We have lives.," said Krigbaum.

Alex Menke

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