And ever since Kimberly Phillips’s family dropped from two incomes to one, the Olney resident has been negotiating with the water company to avoid a shut-off.
The Maryland residents — who never envisioned filing for unemployment and never had to until this year — are among tens of thousands of jobless residents in their state and the District whose benefits are tangled in red tape.
They have made endless phone calls and sent volumes of emails that have largely gone unanswered, and they find themselves in an anxiety-ridden waiting game with overwhelmed government bureaucracies.
“It’s a gut-wrenching time,” said Duncan, who received money for several weeks then watched his benefits stop for a still-unexplained reason. “As an attorney for some 50 years, I’m used to being the squeaky wheel when I need to be, but it’s not even possible in this kind of circumstance.”
Eight months into the pandemic, residents