Furloughed food service worker listed as employed with Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development

This is Morgan Bender's seventh week without an unemployment check, even though she is a furloughed employee.

Posted: May 19, 2020 7:57 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 11:19 PM

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - Thousands of Hoosiers are still struggle to get their unemployment money with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Morgan Bender is one of those Hoosiers.

"It's been so long that I'm starting to get a little nervous," she said with a laugh.

Bender is from Logansport. After graduating from Pioneer High School, she went to Purdue to get her degree. This is going on week seven without an unemployment check.

"I work in Lafayette as a banquet manager and I work here in Logansport on the weekends as a bartender so we were affected by coronavirus right from the start," she said.

She was furloughed from her catering job and the bar she works at won't reopen until July 4th. She had no problem filing for unemployment with the state during the first two weeks, receiving her money without any hiccups.

"And then the third week I applied and almost a day later it came back with an issue type of fully employed and I'm like that's not right," she said.

Bender said she doesn't know what changed. She said she filled out her voucher the exact same way each week. And so began the constant go around of trying to fix the problem.

"So I call and you're on hold for three hours and then you finally get a hold of someone if you don't get disconnected," she said.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development website says filing for unemployment is as easy as 1-2-3, but for Bender it's been anything but easy. She said she called them about six times with no positive results.

"I talked to this one woman once who was super helpful but again, it was we're going to take your information and email it to them and I'm like who is them? I want to talk to them!" she said.

Bender is now living with her parents to try and save money. She still has to pay rent and utilities at her apartment. She said she understands how fortunate she is to have family to fall back on in this difficult time.

"Just watching my bank account slowly drain and that's a really scary thought," she said.

She said she had big plans that are now put on hold.

"I was at the point where it was like, ok I need to think about buying a house and putting back for retirement," she said. "That's not even something I can really think about."

She said the worst part is just not knowing.

"The most anxious part about it, is not knowing if it's even been looked at not knowing what's going on with the process," she said.

Bender said it is unclear when her banquet management job will start up again. She said she has heard from co-workers that things have started to get busier. She said it's still important to be cautious about allowing large-gathering events like the ones she works to slow the spread of the virus.

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