The coronavirus pandemic has sent the national economy into an unprecedented downward spiral, and more than 12 million workers across the country have found themselves relying on Unemployment Insurance.

Essential workers like Jason Suggs, who processes unemployment claims in Maryland, are at the heart of ensuring folks are receiving this important financial support, but they are coping with difficult circumstances themselves, including insufficient staffing and lack of time to properly train new employees.

“These days, our office is serving more claimants than ever before,” he says. “That’s increasing call volume. That’s increasing wait times. And that’s increasing frustrations.”

Even so, Jason appreciates the vital nature of his work: “You have to have some compassion, sympathy, and empathy,” said Suggs. “That’s part of what makes this work uniquely special.”

Read more about Jason and his work processing unemployment claims and how new federal legislation could revitalize employment infrastructures.