Unemployment struggles across the state lead to legal action


SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The long wait for unemployment checks has led to legal action by a local organization trying to help people pay the bills.

On Tuesday, March 2nd, a Pulaski County Judge ordered the Division of Workforce Services to turn over records to Legal Aid of Arkansas under its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“There’s just all sorts of failings that we’ve seen that really aren’t justified,” said Director of Advocacy for Legal Aid, Kevin De Liban. “It doesn’t have to be this way even with the increased demand.”

De Liban said this lawsuit comes after months of not getting the information from the Division of Workforce Services (DWS) needed to help his clients get their checks.

“Workforce hasn’t been good about getting us documents for individual clients, and they haven’t been good about getting us the documents about their overall processes that would help us understand where some of these hangups are,” he said.

De Liban said he discovered additional issues made by Workforce Services factoring in to the complications claimants might be facing.

“It’s them [DWS] not documenting things that they’re told, them not keeping records they’re given, giving inconsistent information,” he said.

De Liban said the information the judge is requiring DWS to hand over will help him determine how to assist each client — whether seeing what steps to take next to get the benefits or making appeals.

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