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Cicero mom says 'a simple mistake' left her without unemployment benefits for months

"It's just a sad situation overall"
Posted at 8:25 PM, Jan 31, 2021

CICERO — Unemployment issues continue for some Hoosiers including one Cicero mother.

Lynda Cummings said while she understands the skyrocketing workload of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, she is losing patience.

Cummings said for months she has continued to file her weekly vouchers and wait after she stopped receiving unemployment benefits in September.

“When you work so hard to get where you were and then everything is gone,” Cummings said.

In the spring, she was laid off from her job at a call center. At first, Cummings recalled things went smoothly, but that stopped after she said she accidentally checked off that she received disability on a weekly voucher in September.

Cummings said she immediately reached out to explain the mistake, but she said the DWD told her to keep filing her vouchers and wait.

“She was like well the only thing you can do is wait for a claims investigator to call,” Cummings said. “They called mid-October, on that voicemail she left me she said that she needed to hear back to me in 24 to 48 hours or it was automatically denied. I left a message with someone. I never heard anything.”

In late October, Cummings said she sent an appeal, but did not hear anything from the DWD until December when a letter was sent acknowledging the appeal.

“It’s just a sad situation overall and I know I’m not the worst off by any means," Cummings said. "It’s just frustrating, such a simple mistake and here we are months later."

During a Zoom interview, Cummings said her savings are gone. She added her husband started another job after his seasonal layoff this week, but his paycheck will not arrive until late next month. As she continues to wait, she said she is frustrated as to why the process is not simpler.

WRTV reached out to the DWD for comment on Cummings situation, but was told by a spokesperson they won’t comment due to privacy concerns.

“We cannot comment on this particular case due to confidentiality. What we can say is that each case is extremely fact-specific and we must adjudicate each case based on those particular facts,” a DWD spokesperson wrote in an email.

When asked for any information to pass along to folks who believe they may have made a simple mistake like Cummings, the spokesperson pointed us to this webpage.

“I get it. I understand, I have to wait my turn, there’s a line, I get it. But what’s the point if by the point you get to me and I have nothing left?” Cummings questioned.