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Many Struggle To Navigate Massachusetts Unemployment System

BOSTON (CBS) -- Wedding photographer Lisa Rigby isn't sure when she'll be able to start working again.

"I had no income from the end of March through this month," she said.

Her clients are postponing their weddings during the state's stay-at-home order.

"Just as our season is starting we have all of these weddings that are postponing," she said.

Since March, Rigby's been navigating Massachusetts's unemployment system trying to get her benefits so she can pay her bills.

The state reported that another 70,000 people filed for unemployment last week. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, more than 900,000 people in the state have lost their jobs.


"This is inconceivable to imagine it could happen to this extent," said Greg Sullivan of the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank.

Sullivan has been tracking Massachusetts unemployment during the pandemic and how the state is reacting to the increased demand.

"Basically they've had to process the amount of claims that they would have ordinarily taken two and a half years to process in six weeks," he said.

Sullivan said people should be persistent and keep in touch with the unemployment office.

For Rigby, that strategy worked. She found out Wednesday her money is on the way to her bank.

"This means I will pay my bills on time, and it's a huge it's one less big stress thing off of me," she said.

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