Since Monday, October 19, the entire hospitality industry has had to close its doors, while tens of thousands of Belgians have been placed on temporary unemployment. As a result, unions, and in particular Capac, the organization that helps non-unionized people get their allowance, are overwhelmed. “To date, many of us have not touched our unemployment as affiliated with Capac “, tells us Olivia, a 39-year-old from Brussels who is taking management training. “ I sent my unemployment card in the mail on October 25, and I still haven’t received my allowance! After 10 days of unanswered calls, they finally answered me, and obviously there was a postal problem. So I went to drop my card directly into their mailbox, hoping that they would take care of my request. I also sent an email but I do not receive an answer, nor on the phone either! Which address ? “
This delay in payment of the allowance places Olivia in a precarious situation. “I’m already more than Plan B bis. Fortunately I have a family to help me and an accommodating landlord. Well, it is for a delay in rent of a month, but not more! In addition, my late payments of invoices lead to reminders, additional costs. I do not understand that we are still in this situation when the second wave of the virus was announced and predictable. We would have had to hire staff. “
These delays in unemployment payments are known to the authorities. “ It’s been common for two weeks “, specifies the spokesperson for Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), Minister in charge of Labor. “ Their lines are submerged and the Capac tries to stick its head out of the water. They also want to avoid releasing the people who handle the files for the phone calls. They are doing everything to make up for the delay, but they are held by the throat. There are delays but these payments will be done well. “
The Capac, concretely, is inundated with phone calls. “ On some days we get over 20,000 phone calls. So far, it’s around 12,000. We are 500 people and have hired 70 more people. But, even if the collaborators were just answering the phone, it just wouldn’t be possible “, specifies Inge Huyge, spokesperson for Capac, who however wants to be reassuring.
“ At the start of the crisis, in March and April, there were a lot of problems because people were asking for an allowance for the first time. This often led us to have to look for missing information, not provided. But since then, procedures have been adapted and payments have become automatic. We are much more up to date, at least for most of the files. But that does not exclude that there are difficult cases “, adds Inge Huyge. “The mass of work, only for temporary unemployment, has been multiplied by forty. We have hired a lot of collaborators, but an expert in the field of unemployment, it takes time to train him. Our staff work a lot of overtime, evenings and weekends. But closing the counters, our main channel of communication, greatly complicates our work.the. “