To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I applied for unemployment benefits the first week of October. I had worked three jobs, at the same time, to catch up on bills. However 80 hours a week was too much on the body and soul, so I let my part-time employers aware I needed to do something. They both found replacements and let me go. One said I was discharged, the other said I quit, which I did sort of.

Six weeks later, I got laid off from full-time job. Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) guidelines are three weeks for a decision on benefits, but it will not escalate a case until you wait for eight weeks, which makes no sense. Cellphone carriers, landlords, utilities and hungry stomachs can’t wait.

No matter what time of day or day of week you try calling to DUA, the message is always, "Due to high volume of calls we cannot take your call at this time" -- then the system hangs up on you.

I was approved for two of my jobs, the third one pending. I asked the local office supervisor if I could collect on those two while DUA makes a decision on the third job. The answer was no. I returned to the office three times, to no avail. It’s been 14 weeks. I was brushing my teeth with salt water and baking soda, lost my cable TV, and my cellphone was going to get shut off, potential employers would not so be able to get in touch with me.

Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s office was quick to respond and assist to my letter seeking help. Within 24 hours, my unemployment case was closed and approved. I think all of Rep. Farley-Bouvier’s constituents should be aware of how helpful she was.

ROBERT CROTEAU

Pittsfield