#Powerofajob: Customer gets thousands in back benefits

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Betty Jenne, a WorkSource specialist at WorkSource Kittitas County in Ellensburg.

Here is Betty’s story:

I have a rather unique story I want to share about a customer named Gene. Gene is an adult with disabilities who worked for 14 years at a fast food restaurant in Ellensburg. The employer decided to close and sold the business to a pizza shop. Gene was hired at the pizza shop, but while they were remodeling, he was unemployed, so I started his unemployment. Then he started going to work.

As he worked at the pizza place, he was working with pizza dough and it didn’t seem to be working out so well. So, he came back to me to see if he could get unemployment, and I was trying to help him. I sent him information and he always diligently brought me all of his paperwork.

When I went to restart his unemployment, I realized that his paperwork had not gotten all the way processed, so we restarted it and processed his paperwork. I reported the incident to my supervisor to let him know that the paperwork was quite massive due to Gene’s transition. We ended up with 42 pages of back claims to be processed. Gene was very diligent with everything. He brought me all of his paystubs. I imported everything for him and he ended up getting over $2,000 in back benefits.

I was so proud of Employment Security for looking at his case and helping him with it, because he really, really needed the money. His brother was supporting him.

Gene needed more help, so we sent him to Washington’s Department of Vocational Resources and to Central Washington Disability Resources. And we also introduced him to Elmview [an organization which ensures that people with disabilities remain in their communities and live full and productive lives].

Gene finally ended up with a great job coach named Elizabeth Sessions who works at Central Washington Disability Resources. She is helping Gene connect with a job. We’re also trying to get him connected with Social Security disability since Gene is 60 years old.

I would encourage everybody to come into WorkSource and check out all the opportunities we have here. We have all kinds of employment classes and we also can help one-on-one.

Note: Unemployment insurance claimants always should contact the Unemployment Claims Center online or at 800-318-6022 for help with their claims. Betty helped Gene at WorkSource because WorkSource policy allows customers with special needs to use WorkSource for help with their unemployment claims.

WorkSource offices and the Unemployment Claims Center have auxiliary aids and services available upon request to people with disabilities. Auxiliary aids may include telecommunication devices such as Washington Relay Service 711 for hearing- or speech-impaired individuals.

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