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'You're not the only one' | NC workers filing for unemployment benefits waiting hours on the phone for answers

One North Carolina woman told WFMY News 2 she spent 9 hours on hold with the Division of Employment Security, to get a problem sorted out with her unemployment.

Hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians are now in a position they didn't think they'd be: without a steady income, and filing for unemployment insurance. 

Two weeks ago, an executive order from Governor Roy Cooper loosened some of the restrictions for filing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, since that order went into effect more than 300,000 people have filed unemployment benefit claims in just two weeks. Governor Cooper says, normally, the Division of Employment Security gets 3,000 claims in a week. 

"We want you to know that we care about your claim," the Governor said in a news conference Tuesday. 

"People are working diligently to handle the onslaught of claims that they’ve really never seen before, to make sure people get paid as promptly as possible," said Gov. Cooper. 

RELATED: When will unemployment checks be issued?

"They’ve heard from me quite a bit. We’ve got to get this money out to people. We also know that when the federal money comes in, and we get the federal guidance, we want that to be added to people's checks as quickly as possible. So we are pushing, pushing, pushing and we want to get this money out to people - because our families need it and our economy needs it."

WFMY News 2 spoke with one woman who said, she's been trying to get in touch with someone at the call center for two weeks.

"Every time that I called, they will say the line is too many people at one time," said Lashonda Flood, "So, they say that they can’t take additional calls, and it will just hang up on you. It won’t even give you the option to hold on."

She finally got put on hold this morning and waited until nearly 5 p.m. until she got someone on the other end of the line. 

"She was very nice. I think she was empathetic with me because I told her how long I was on the phone," Flood said, "But she did say to me, I don’t mean to sound insensitive but you’re not the only one. She said that is the story for everyone. They have been on hold for at least eight hours."

Flood plans to file early Wednesday morning after getting her account unlocked. 

"I’m praying that something else doesn’t happen where it tells me to call that number," she said, "I’m hoping that I’m able to just go ahead and everything is unlocked, I can just file with no issues."

RELATED: Real-time updates: Guilford County reports first coronavirus death

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Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 2-1-1 or 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.