Glitch in NC unemployment system holding many back from receiving benefits

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An apparent glitch with the state’s new unemployment verification system is preventing more than a dozen people from getting their benefits.

One of them reached out to CBS 17 for help and Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia went to work.

The problem seemed to occur about 13 days ago when a group of people tried to verify their unemployment status.

They’re frustrated because neither the third-party vendor nor the North Carolina Department of Employment Security has been helpful.

When the pandemic hit, American Airlines furloughed a lot of its North Carolina-based flight attendants. Many like Michael Donnelly have been collecting unemployment since then.

“I never had a problem, was certified every week and got paid every week,” he said.

Then came ID.me. On May 7, Donnelly and fellow flight attendants were told they’d have to be verified via a third-party system in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Donnelly said he followed the company’s procedures and received written confirmation from ID.me. that he was verified.

“DES Never received it from ID.me,” he said. “None of us have gotten paid in a couple of weeks.”

The ‘”us” Donnelly is referring to are more than a dozen of his fellow NC-based flight attendants. They are complaining about their private Facebook group about the same problem with verification issues.

Donnelly said he tried to re-verify. “I’ve done that three times and nothing from DES.”

His attempts to contact DES by both chat and phone have resulted in frustration.

“I sat for 2 hours on phone with DES,” he said. “They weren’t helpful, they said they couldn’t help.”

He said attempts to contact ID.me also proved fruitless.

We’ve emailed them and got a canned response saying they’ve received the email, but we’ve not heard from anybody,” he said. “We also couldn’t find a phone number on the Id.me website.”

To try and help, Sbraccia right to the top, sending an email to the president of ID.me outlining the problem.

Within 15 minutes he received a reply from ID.me asking to be put in contact with Donnelly and the others.

By late Monday afternoon Donnelly and the others had their verification glitch problem solved.

“Everyone is now able to certify,” Donnelly said. “We have been verified and NCDES accepted it. The certification link is back up meaning that we will now get paid!”

Donnelly said CBS 17 was the reason their problem was solved.

“We’ve been trying for over 2 weeks. You did it in hours!”

For its part, ID.me said in an emailed statement, “We understand how important these benefits are and are working 24/7 to help claimants.”

The company said, “We continue to improve our technology based on customer and user feedback.”

Id.me would not explain what caused the problem, saying only, “We have remediated the issue and DES is releasing their benefits.”

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