(WIAT)– Hundreds of people waited in line Friday morning in Montgomery to file in person unemployment claims.
The state says they have paid out $1.5 billion so far in claims.
About 350 people waited in line on the campus of Alabama State University, some of them traveled from all over Alabama. Many people camped out overnight hoping to be the first one in line, people were given tickets once they arrive
“We would normally have people come to our offices if they needed help with their unemployment compensation claims. However, with this number, we couldn’t accommodate them safely,” said Kelly Betts from the Alabama Department of Labor.
Terrius Mitchell has been waiting to get unemployment benefits since mid-march. Like half a million Alabamians, Mitchell has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“My American dream it turns into a nightmare,” said Mitchell. “It’s been rough from month after month with no income coming in, you know how rough that is, especially if you don’t have anything put back.”
The Alabama Department of Labor is recommending that people use the online claims process or phone lines, but for some people that wasn’t an option.
One woman says she has not been able to get through on the phone.
“I haven’t been able to get through on the phone lines because even if you wait until they open the phone lines, which is at 8 a.m. you can’t get in it already says, oh, we’ve got too many, you know, too many calls,” said Angelica Hugely.
Since holding the in-person claim sites ADOL has helped about 10,000.
Alabama labor says they will be back next week at ASU for in-person claims, they can only take up to 350 people a day.