Skip to Content

After two years of no answers, Denver woman gets nearly $20,000 in unemployment money she’s been owed thanks to one email from CBS News Colorado



Click here for updates on this story

    DENVER (KCNC) — Susan Hennessy, of Denver, works in the movie business, helping out on all sorts of big-name films, including Steven Spielberg’s recent biographical drama The Fabelmans, but being in that industry also means a bit of instability. She will work on a project for a few months, then she’s back to being unemployed for a few months more.

Over the last two years, Hennessy has faced her fair share of periods of no work and no pay, but she says the government agency that’s supposed to step in and help during those times — the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment — has only managed to do the opposite.

“I have to say, it’s been wildly inconvenient, it’s very time consuming,” Hennessy said. “I am someone who’s pretty tenacious. I stay on top of things, but literally, it’s been like a big, fat cloud hanging over my head, because I know every day when I wake up, I have to go on the dashboard, look at things, see where they stand, and then see if there’s a move on my side that needs to be made, and it’s, it’s easily a full-time job.”

After more than two years of having her claims held up, Hennessy was owed nearly $20,000 in backpay.

Problems started for Hennessy in March 2021, when someone filed a fraudulent claim in her name. She says she filed the proper documents to correct the issue, but a few months later, when she tried to file for unemployment, she learned her unemployment account was “locked up.”

“I tried to make a call, couldn’t get through, and then subsequently I actually made a call every month, sometimes twice a month, when my job allows,” Hennessy said. “I finally got someone in August of 2022. He was extremely helpful. He put a lot of notes in, and he said, ‘look for an email.’ I never got the email.”

By spring of 2023, she was finally able to speak to real humans on the department’s customer service lines.

“They corrected it, each of these phone calls takes well over an hour and a half from sitting on hold or from actually doing all the questions and answers,” Hennessy said. “There’s quite a bit of verification that has to happen.”

But still, no money.

“I think it’s just a broken system,” she said. “I was a victim of a fraudulent scam, and I didn’t feel like I had anybody on my side who was helping me.”

She then contacted CBS News Colorado, after seeing this story in early August, and within hours of The Investigators inquiring about her claim via email, the unemployment department cleared the fraud holds, and about a day later, finally deposited the money she was owed into her bank account.

“It feels deserving, I think that’s the first word, and it’s a big relief,” Hennessy said. “This is why we pay taxes. This is why these systems exist, but if they’re not functioning properly, I think the government really has to look deeply inside those systems and change what’s not working. I think we as taxpayers should be louder. We should be louder about our disappointment, and we shouldn’t have to turn to the media to help us. We should get those services.”

The CDLE says Hennessy’s claim was held up due to multiple fraudulent claims that were filed in her name in the past.

This summer, the department put new fraud flags in place to combat an influx in scammers trying to cheat the system after the department changed identity verification vendors. The CDLE says that caused 5,766 legitimate claims to be held up.

The department says it’s working every day to review and release those holds, and it’s in the process of hiring and training more customer service representatives.

Hennessy jokes that she would love it if the department could hire her to help out, but she says in the meantime, administrators need to make some serious changes.

“I would like to see them shore up their staff, come up with easier means of communication… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called and I said, ‘it looks like my claim is pending, can you tell me why?’ And they couldn’t… I just feel like it’s coming top down. We need to clean it up.”

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content