Phone calls to Department of Labor lead to endless loop of frustration

13 Investigates has been reporting on issues people have had with getting their unemployment checks, and getting someone to answer the phone at the Department of Labor.

The calls have been coming into 13 Investigates for a while.

One of the main problems was not being able to talk to a person when you call DOL.

Michael Bacher was having that same issue.

Bacher works a seasonal job with Colonie Country Club as a landscaper. He has had the job for almost nine years. He does not work from the end of November until March, but does some side jobs to make a little cash.

He’s familiar with the unemployment system since he applies for benefits each year when he’s not working at the country club. However, like many others during the pandemic, he had a problem.

Bacher said he got messages that his claim was being processed, but never saw the money. He thought something might have gone wrong on his end because he does not have a computer.

He said he called DOL repeatedly, but he could never get anyone on the phone. That’s when he called 13 Investigates.

DIGITAL EXTRA: Watch Bacher and 13 Investigates call the Department of Labor

Bacher said within hours of 13 Investigates contacting DOL for him, he got a call. From then on, he said DOL has been more responsive. Bacher said he has started to get the money he’s owed.

“I was just relieved. I never really asked her what the issue was other than she has been saying we have been answering calls,” Bacher said.

Keep in mind every time 13 Investigates asks DOL about phone issues, they said, “they don’t comment on speculation.”

13 Investigates has reached out to the department again for the comment. They haven’t gotten back to us yet.