TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) – Unemployment has been one big problem during the coronavirus with millions out of work and having problems signing up for benefits. Others are told to pay back some of their benefits. One Trumbull County man is still trying to sign up.
“It took me 54 minutes and 11 seconds of calling repeatedly to get a hold of somebody, and then I spent another two and a half hours on hold before I was hung up on,” said Bert Johnson.
Johnson has added up nearly 300 calls while trying to get unemployment for 11 weeks.
He delivered newspapers, but doctor’s orders took him off the road because he was at risk of catching COVID-19 with a myriad of health problems.
The phone is his biggest frustration.
“Not being able to get anybody to get me beyond step one,” Johnson said.
April 3 was Johnson’s last day delivering newspapers. He’s been told eight times to call someone back but never gets through.
“Twice I’ve thought we had it fixed. I’m still sitting here, dust in my pocket,” he said.
On Thursday, he was waiting for a promised call to fix the situation and his phone never rang.
Johnson believes he should get state unemployment and the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
For some reason, he’s still waiting.
“Somebody doesn’t know what’s going on. Somebody has no clue what’s going on. They can’t figure out how to fix it. I don’t know. I’m at a loss,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants to work, but he doesn’t want to risk his life.
While waiting for a clear answer on the situation, his head in spinning, going in circles.
“I’m mad. I’m mad that they’re playing games. They weren’t capable of fixing the issue, and as I said before, I know I’m not the only person suffering from this, but this has been 11 weeks I’ve been dealing with this stuff. I’m done,” Johnson said.
Johnson has even tweeted Governor DeWine, but no one can give him any answers.