Unemployment claims leaving Department of Commerce overwhelmed

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Here at KNWA/FOX24 News, we have heard from several of you who have yet to receive unemployment checks and the Arkansas Department of Finance is asking for your patience as they try to catch up.

Secretary of Commerce, Mike Preston, said this year has been unlike any other when it comes to unemployment claims. For one man, the lack of communication is the hardest part.

“I have not been able to talk to anyone,. I have not been able to cry, I have not been able to get any type of closure any understanding,” Randall Collins said. “I don’t comprehend what’s going on.”

Randall Collins lost his job back in August and within a week he received his first unemployment check. However after six weeks of getting payments, he has not heard another word.

“With unemployment, each case is unique and sometimes when there’s issues in a case it takes a lot more review,” Preston said.

In 2019, Preston said there were 61,000 claims filed. As of November of 2020, there have already been more than 716,000 claims submitted.

“So the volume has just increased that significantly, so there’s that many more cases,” he said.

Collins said he understands the Department of Commerce is overwhelmed, he just wants to know he is at least heard right now, and he challenges the department to do better.

“There’s got to be single mothers and children out there that are doing without like me and help them,” he said. “Help me so I can help them.”

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