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Reasons Why There’s A Delay in Your Unemployment Benefits

Updated : February 11th, 2022

delay in unemployment benefits

The weekly unemployment compensation checks by the respective state agencies are a lifeline for many during tough times. So it can be pretty unnerving and frustrating when there is a delay in these payments, especially for people who cannot afford even the basic necessities without assistance. 

The delay in the unemployment benefits getting deposited into your account can be chalked up to many reasons. While some can be due to reasons beyond your control, some can be attributed to seemingly inconsequential mistakes. Read on to find out these plausible causes.

Overburdened Unemployment Offices

We all know that after the pandemic state unemployment offices received unemployment claims in thousands. Some offices are still behind in processing these claims. Not only were there considerably more unemployed people, but people who were previously ineligible for benefits, such as self-employed workers, became eligible, putting further strain on state institutions.

Lost Or Stolen Card/Check

It’s possible that your claim check or debit card was lost or that your stolen mail was delivered incorrectly. And when misdelivered mail is received, people don’t always do the right thing and track out the owner. Another issue is that many people have unlocked, insecure mailboxes, and thieves occasionally steal mail from them.

It’s difficult to tell if your unemployment payment was misplaced or stolen, especially if you can’t get in touch with anyone at the unemployment office to confirm when it was mailed. Consider using USPS Informed Delivery in the future, which is a free service that you can sign up for on the USPS website. It can assist you in tracking the mail you’re meant to get each day and to determine whether or not something sent to you never arrived.

Receiving a replacement payment from your unemployment office can take a long time. Before issuing new checks or debit cards, it may need to investigate and cancel old ones.

Outdated State Unemployment Systems

Most state unemployment agencies run their operations on old systems and processes. Case in point, as The Washington Post states, the District of Columbia’s official unemployment website was written in a 1950s programming language and created in the 2000s when smartphones weren’t a thing. Even the pandemic-related changes took a long time to be implemented on the site.

These antiquated processes are not limited to one state but many, and to correlate the delay in payments with them is not a far stretch.

Bank Account Verification

Even if your direct deposit information is valid, you may have to wait a few weeks before receiving your payments while your unemployment office confirms your bank account. This verification procedure may sometimes take up to nine business days in some states. During that time, the department suspends your benefits, and you are not compensated.

Changed Payment Providers

The Division of Unemployment Insurance in Maryland shifted from Bank of America to Wells Fargo. Anyone whose benefits were deposited to a Bank of America debit card had to move to direct deposit or cheque payment. Benefit payments may be delayed for those who did not actively choose a new payment option.

Fraud-related Concerns

Fraudsters took advantage of states where systems were more geared to settle claims fast and claimed for benefits they hadn’t earned. States had to devote resources to investigating the scam and ensuring that they were only paying legitimate claims if they uncovered it.

Is There Any Mistake From Your End?

It’s normal to make a mistake on your unemployment application if you’re filing for the first time. The claim forms may have changed, or your state’s filing system has changed. Unfortunately, even the tiniest error, such as omitting to check a box, can prevent your claim from being granted automatically. Instead, it will be added to a huge queue of claims that must be reviewed by a human.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make when filing for unemployment benefits – 

Marking Or Stating An answer Incorrectly

Another anecdote related to the pandemic era resulted in many unemployed individuals waiting for their UI checks for longer than usual. A question that many people misinterpreted asked if they couldn’t work for any reason other than sickness or injury.

Many people responded “yes” since the epidemic was the source of their unemployment, but the system was designed to expect people to respond “no” even if the pandemic was the cause of their unemployment. Their applications were subsequently labeled as requiring an interview with an unemployment department agent, resulting in lengthy delays.

Not Submitting Your Weekly Claim

One of the requirements to receive your unemployment check is the weekly claims. It may be hard to keep track of the dates, especially as days seem to roll into each other when you have too much time on your hands. However, if you don’t file claims for each week that you’ve been out of work, you won’t receive payments.

Providing Incorrect Direct Deposit Information

Direct deposit is a faster and more secure way to receive your unemployment benefits. When typing in your routing or account number, though, it’s easy to make a mistake.

Log onto your unemployment benefits account and double-check that all your information is valid. If you are disabled or have trouble with your vision, you might want to have someone you trust read aloud the numbers you entered as you double-check one of your checks for accuracy.

Filed A New Claim

It can take weeks to receive the weekly payments once you file them for the first time. In Missouri, it can take up to 22 days for a new claim to be processed, while in New York, it may take 3-4 weeks. And, as we’ve already seen, even if everything is submitted correctly, numerous other things might cause delays.

The Bottom Line

The pandemic has made it exceptionally difficult to receive your unemployment check, debit card, or direct deposit on time due to obsolete computer systems, overworked unemployment employees, fraud, and perplexing claims processes. And when human error is factored in, delays can add up quickly. 

Because social safety nets don’t always perform as intended, the solution for the future is to establish a large emergency fund. For the time being, as you wait for your benefits, the best course of action may be to speak with your creditors, landlord, or mortgage servicer about debt relief possibilities while you try to contact an unemployment department representative who can assist you with your case.

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