Self-employed workers fight for aid, can’t get answers from DES

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Self-employed workers across the country right now are desperate for financial help, and a lot of people in the film industry fall into that category.

Film producer Monty Hobbs says he, like so many people in his industry are usually self-employed. He went to file for aid, but has been told there aren’t any guidelines for people who are self-employed.

“Nobody has an answer,” he said. “It’s the Wild Wild West. And the only thing I’m supposed to do is sit home and watch everything burn around me.”

For people who are self-employed, there seems to be a new batch of issues when it comes to filing for unemployment. Hobbs has been looking for answers for weeks.

“I called 142 times yesterday,” he said. “142 times.”

Hobbs started the process back in March, sending in all the necessary paperwork.

“On April the 8th, I get an approval letter, meaning I’m approved all day long for the benefits,” he said.”

Since he got that letter of approval though, he hasn’t seen a dime. Finally, last week Hobbs got back on the phone with a DES agent.

“Who informs me, this letter is not valid even though it’s approved, because they have no criteria,” Hobbs said. “No guidelines on what is issued from the federal government.”

Hobbs waited even longer, only to find out his claim status on his account said it was still pending.

He’s called back every day asking what he can provide to get a final approval of his claim, but each day he says nobody seems to know. He says all he’s told is there are no guidelines for self-employed people yet.

“They might need time to implement it,” he said. “They might need to have certain meetings to position the structure, but how’s that fair to me?”

Hobbs says he’s even reached out to elected officials who say he shouldn’t be having this problem, but have no solution.

“Me sitting here hoping I get a check, me sitting here hoping my industry opens back up is not good enough for my mortgage company,” Hobbs said. “It’s not good enough for feeding my family. And it’s not good enough for the people who deserve better.”

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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