Holding pattern lifts for some, remains for other Kansans awaiting benefits

Frustration felt as unemployment rises
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Posted at 4:51 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 18:42:33-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — More than 11% of Kansans are out of work with benefits slow to arrive.

"It’s been a nightmare, a complete nightmare," said Audry Piert, a Kansas resident unemployed since April 7.

She described her struggle to secure benefits from the Kansas Department of Labor, saying it's taking a toll on her health.

"I’m exercising any kind of calmness I can because I have heart medications I’m not on. They’re over $700 without my insurance. A lot of emotion and frustration and it can’t be doing my body any good," Piert said.

41 Action News also spoke with an Uber driver named David, who said he's part of a new unemployment figure released Friday by the Kansas Department of Labor — 11.2% of Kansans are out of work.

"I have so many bills to pay. I wasn't able to pay my May rent and they're threatening eviction... I just told him, you'll get money when I get money," David said.

As thousands of Kansans still wait for unemployment benefits to come through, 41 Action News got a positive update from a woman whose story we told earlier this week.

Mindi Fisher, a Wichita resident, sat down for an interview with 41 Aciton News on Wednesday, and then the governor's office called her after office hours.

"We're going to expedite your claim and get that pushed through. It should be about 10 days and you should receive your benefits," Mindi says they told her. "I didn't really know if anything would come of an interview, but you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

Many more of her fellow Kansans need help, quickly.

"I would just hope the Kansas doesn't turn their back on people that need help during this," David said, speaking of his frustrations trying to secure needed benefits as a gig worker.