Collecting jobless pay way overdue is frustrating for mechanic employed by military contractor

Maryland

Mike Keefer is a mechanic living in Hancock, Md. who worked for a Pennsylvania employer, a military contractor. He has not been able to collect his unemployment in the 15 weeks he has been jobless.

HANCOCK, Md. (WDVM) — It has been a frustrating 15 weeks for a jobless Hancock heavy equipment mechanic who has not been able to collect his unemployment insurance.

Michael Keefer was laid off in July after 15 years at Letterkenny Army Depot, just over the state line in Pennsylvania. While he is eligible for the benefits, he cannot get an explanation for the hold-up despite calls, e-mails and visits to the jobless claims office, which is not welcoming visitors as a health precaution against COVID.

Keefer has since found work at lower pay but is entitled to the benefits for the months he was out of work. He just wants a simple explanation on the status of his claim.

“I’m not asking for anything extra,” Keefer said. “I just want what the state owes me. That’s all I’m asking for. It’s frustrating. Everything’s a dead end. You can’t go to talk to somebody in person because they no longer do the in-person thing. So everything is done by phone and I cannot get a hold of a specialist.”

Keefer hopes that by going public about the bureaucratic runaround he is experiencing, someone in state government will come to his rescue and help others laid-off in the same predicament.

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