LETTER – Assemblywoman Holly Schepis goes undercover to investigate poor service at unemployment office

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi stopped in the N.J. Department of Labor’s unemployment office in Hackensack to hear resident’s concerns after reading a young woman’s Facebook post about her own struggles to receive benefits.

“Over the past two weeks I watched through social media the struggles of Monica Brinson as she attempts to have an unemployment claim fixed,” Schepisi posted on her personal Facebook page Monday.  “Today I went to the unemployment office to see firsthand how it operates.”

Schepisi posted a video of her experience HERE.

She found there was only one employee working to process a room full of people seeking help to obtain their unemployment benefits.  After handing out seven reservation tickets, the office was no longer able to serve any more walk-ins.

“Many of the people I spoke to this morning wait outside in the cold for upwards of several hours because only five people at a time are generally allowed in the building,” Schepisi (R-Bergen) wrote.  “People will wait for three to four hours inside and then find out that they cannot be seen that day.”

One person said she has not been able to get her unemployment claim through since September because her paperwork was lost.

Schepisi was given a comprehensive tour of the building, including the employment opportunities, the Bergen One-Stop Career Center and the available training programs. In a separate post she plans to provide some of the resources given to her.

As a result, acting Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo reached out to Schepisi to meet with her to discuss possible solutions.

“We must find a better way to provide staffing,” concluded Schepisi.  “The state needs to provide additional personnel and I look forward to working with the Department of Labor to fix this problem.”