Colbert woman still waiting for unemployment benefits, despite department claiming a cleared backlog

SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 600,000 people filed their weekly unemployment claims last week in Washington. One of those is Annalisa Colley, who said her claims have been pending since April.

According to KOMO News, the Employment Security Department said its backlog was cleared on Friday. However, Colley said her claims haven’t budged.

“I file my weekly claims every week since April 18,” she said.

Colley is a personal shopper and worked in healthcare prior. When the pandemic hit, business went down for her as more people started turning to other jobs like Instacart and DoorDash.

She was paid once by ESD then it all stopped. Her application was in adjudication.

“My hole is that even though I’ve been self-employed for over two years, I did work temporarily for a W-2 job and that separation needs to be verified by ESD before they can process my unemployment,” Colley explained.

The claim sat in pending for weeks. She called the department thousands of times, sat on hold and the phone disconnected.

“I had not been able to get through on the phone lines and my savings were running out, maxing out all my credit cards, so I’m like something has got to give here, so I ended up writing a letter to Sen. Cantwell’s office in June,” Colley said.

The senator’s office responded and told Colley she didn’t need to call anymore. The office said her application would be expedited.

“I had hope that it was going to be taken care of and I’ve just not received any contact,” she said.

After waiting for weeks, she sent another e-mail to Sen. Cantwell’s office. No one responded. Colley contacted Gov. Jay Inslee’s office and received what she believes was an automated message.

“I’m past due on two months of rent, my utilities haven’t been paid since April and all of my credit cards are about one payment away from defaulting,” she said.

The struggle to not pay her rent has been humiliating, she said. Colley explained that she paid for everything in the first several months of the pandemic and said no help is coming.

“I fully believe that I’m just in a black hole,” Colley said. “No one is even going to look at my case unless someone gets attention gets to it.”

4 News Now reached out to the Employment Security Department and they have not responded.

Colley has this message for them.

“You’re not caught up,” she said. “You need to be communicating with people. You need to be responding to the messages when people submit requests for call backs, you need to call them back.”

She said she’s going to continue to ask for a call back and hope for the best.

RELATED: Washington’s Employment Security Department clears out backlog of unemployment claims

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