As businesses close down or cut back in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus, more and more people are losing their jobs and turning to unemployment offices for help.
Mississippi is no exception. On March 21, Gov. Tate Reeves signed an executive order making it easier for unemployed workers to receive benefits, including waiving the one week waiting period and the requirements to be looking for work.
Overnight, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security was getting slammed with calls and claims, reports WLBT.
“We do not know how long this will last. We went from business as usual, to a very low claims workload, to the claims workload growing exponentially,” Jackie Turner, executive director of MDES told the station.
Turner added that MDES is in the process of hiring and training staff and adding phone lines to handle the additional workload. The department has also changed its hours and is now open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., seven days a week.
MDES is strongly urging applicants to use the website (https://mdes.ms.gov/) as much as possible to avoid overloading phone lines and lengthy waits on hold. Unemployment applications can be filed online as well as weekly certifications, if necessary.