This week the Mississippi Department of Employment Security changed its telephone operation hours creating havoc for some unemployed Mississippians.
People unemployed in our state must re-certify every week through MDES to receive a check. The new procedure now offers less time to call in and more online options.
Although this caused some problems, the MDES believes online re-certifications will allow the department to be more efficient.
"MDES no longer accepts weekly certifications by telephone. Today is Thursday, is it not? The announcement says that Wednesday they'll take telephone calls now it says they won't take calls period," Tom Helms said.
Unemployed D'Lo resident Tom Helms is outraged. He said he's been getting the run around since Sunday when he called the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to try and re-certify for his check.
"I tried calling over 100 times Monday. All day long from 8 until 4:30 in the afternoon. I never got through," Helms said.
MDES has a new policy that was implemented Sunday at midnight. The change, the phone lines are now closed Monday and Tuesday, but are open for the rest of the week. MDES Executive Director, Stan McMorris, said this switch re-routes more people to use the online service which in turn helps accuracy.
"Our system has been developed so that it is both an online system and a phone system," Stan McMorris said. "But, the online system allows us to gather more information from the person making the claim. When they file by online which leads to the integrity making sure it's a valid claim that we can get all the information we need to ensure proper payment for that claim."
McMorris said all unemployed Mississippians were notified weeks ahead of time about the change. But, Helms believes he is not the only one who wasn't aware the change would happen late Sunday night.
"I thought it was ludicrous and it really hurt me. I'm used to, if I file on Sunday my check is deposited on my debit card Monday. I had a check bounce on account of this problem," Helms said.
People can re-certify online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Helms told WLBT he was finally able to re-certify online and has since received his check. MDES said the online procedure isn't new, it has been in place for about two years.
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