Baraboo man says he was denied unemployment due to his disability, can only work part-time

BARABOO, Wis. — More than 680,000 claims are still being processed at the Department of Workforce Development office. Thousands still have not received a response and are waiting for some sort of answer as to if and when they will receive payment. Charles Ormond is one of them.

Ormond was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1995. He said he’s only been able to work part-time since then. Before the COVID-19 pandemic put him out of a job, he worked at a water park. He had to file for unemployment in March.

“It registers pretty close to me because it’s actually happening to me,” Ormond said.

Ormond said he is receiving financial help through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, but it isn’t enough to keep up with his monthly bills.

“I figure about two more months, I’m going to start falling behind,” Ormond said. “I’m dipping into savings. The savings are going to run out and then I’m going to start falling behind.”

Ormond said his original claim for unemployment was approved, but then, shortly after, “I then got a letter in the mail saying the benefits were being withheld because I cannot collect unemployment and disability because it’s considered double dipping.”

Ormond said in the online questionnaire to apply for unemployment, he is asked if he has applied for full-time positions, which he said he hasn’t because he can only work part-time due to his disability. He said that he has tried reaching back out to unemployment staff to explain his situation, but the wait is just as bad as it was months ago.

“The last time it was 21 days, it turned out to be 2 months,” he said.

Ormond said someone in the office claimed he was denied benefits for giving them the wrong address.

“I did not give you the wrong address. She goes, ‘Well yes, sir you did. You didn’t give us your right address. That’s why.’ And I went, ‘Well you have no problem sending me denial letters to my right address.'”

Ormond said he’s going in circles explaining why he can’t take a full-time job and why he is limited on where he can apply for a job to try to receive unemployment benefits.

“I have people telling me that I should apply at McDonald’s because they’re hiring. Well there’s really no room for a wheelchair back there,” Ormond said. “I feel terrible because now I have to live in the system that I was trying to stay out of.”

Ormond said someone from the DWD office is supposed to investigate his case soon.