I-Team: NBC 10 viewer receives apology letter from DLT - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

I-Team: NBC 10 viewer receives apology letter from DLT

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At least one unemployed Rhode Island worker told the I-Team he received a letter of apology from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, after an exclusive NBC 10 investigation found many people left hanging by the state agency.

Dozens of people have called and e-mailed the I-Team, saying they had waited weeks or even months for their unemployment benefits.

Dan D'Alessio said the response wasn't the one he was expecting.

The letter's message was, "We're sorry for your inconvenience. We've hired more people. Things should be getting better."

The letter D'Alessio received was signed by Robert Langlais, assistant director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. It begins, "We are sorry to hear that you had trouble with your recent claim." The letter continued, "Director Fogarty has been especially concerned with improving customer service to our unemployed workers."

Director Charlie Fogarty sat down with I-Team, after NBC 10 contacted him to ask about complaints from viewers.

"If you're someone who's in a tough situation, and you're trying to call in, we understand the desperation," Fogarty said.  "We're doing our best to deal with those issues."

D'Alessio said he received the letter at his home in North Providence, after more than a month without unemployment checks. He said he tried contacting the DLT by phone and email, to no avail.

"I called 70 times in a row, three days in a row. Nothing," he said.

The DLT wouldn't give NBC 10 numbers on how many other people received their own letters.  A department spokesperson said D'Alessio's letter represents his unique experience. But the I-Team heard the same story from viewers over and over, including some who came to our studio.

"I have called to the point where the minutes on my cell phone went over, and I still have not gotten through to a human," said Karen Ingraham, one of the eight people interviewed by NBC 10.

Three people in NBC 10's original story are now receiving payments. Four others are either still waiting, or gave up.  One man, Tom Gibbons of Woonsocket, said his checks were coming through until he ran into more problems this week.

"People who are unemployed, that are in this situation, are not at their best. They're looking for help and they're looking for support," Gibbons said.

D'Alessio said his missing money finally came through, around the same time as the apology letter.

"They could be working on other things," D'Alessio said. "There's a lot of things more important."

The state took action this month by rehiring another 11 workers who were laid off last year.

The department said they would help handle the overwhelming call volume. NBC 10 will continue to check back in the next few months to see if the problems have improved.

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  • Katie Davis

    Katie Davis

    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
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    Parker Gavigan

    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
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