Cullen complains about lack of service on unemployment hot line

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MADISON—Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, is offering to intercede for people who can't get through to the state unemployment insurance office's hot line.

Cullen said in a news release that he had received numerous calls in recent weeks from people who could not get through to the unemployment benefits phone system to file a claim or conclude other business so they could start receiving their unemployment checks.

One person called the phone line 20 times one day, the news release states. He was informed he was 38th in the queue, and at one point he got down to 16th, and then the phone system hung up on him.

Another person reached a recording that advised not calling on Mondays and Tuesdays due to high call volume, but when he called on a Thursday and Friday, he received the same message. He stayed on hold for 30 minutes, only to be disconnected.

“Whether the problem is a staff shortage or an unusually high number of claims, it is unacceptable to treat people this way,” Cullen said in the release.

Cullen said he has heard from other legislators' offices that are hearing similar complaints.

Cullen joined nine other Democratic senators in a letter to Gov. Scott Walker on Friday, asking him to fix the problem.

Cullen's office had not received a response from the governor as of Tuesday.

The governor's office and the state Department of Workforce Development did not respond to Gazette requests for comment.

In the letter, the legislators noted that people who are spending many hours trying to get through could have spent that time looking for work.

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