FARMINGTON, Mo. – A worker was denied Missouri unemployment benefits after losing her job because of the pandemic. But a mistake costs the family dearly.
Sarah Hazelett and her husband from Farmington have been forced to live on his disability check ever since she lost her job when the COVID crisis hit. She worked for a health care transportation company that was forced to cut back and she was ultimately laid off.
Hazelett hit a brick wall when applying for unemployment. Unemployment officials insisted that she quit her job, which wasn’t the case. She appealed that decision.
She says her employer also appealed on her behalf. But that was in July. Four months later she still hadn’t heard anything, and times were getting desparate.
“It’s very hard. I worry every single month. Am I going to be able to pay the electric bill? What bill do I have to not pay to be able to buy food I can’t even afford? I’m a diabetic and I can’t afford the insulin,” said Sarah Sarah Hazlett.”I’ve put in my time and didn’t quit my job. I lost it due to a pandemic, out of my control. So it’s not like I’m just a deadbeat sitting at home wanting free honey. I worked for it.”
Her pleas for help went unanswered after calling everyone from the labor department director on down.
“There’s nothing I can do. We should not have to reach out to a news channel to be able to survive. I’m so thankful that you guys are here and that you responded. We were watching the news last night and my husband he’s like send an email to Elliott see if he can help,” said Sarah Hazlett.
I started out by contacting the office of the head of the Missouri Labor Department. within no time I got back this email from the department communications office saying,
“We cannot provide information to you about the claim. We will however, be reaching out to Ms. Hazelett about her claim”
They did and within days the department reversed its original decision and awarded Sarah Hazelett all the money she was due.
“We’re overjoyed now and completely blessed. It was like two days after you guys got involved things started rolling. Within three days, we got our first payment.