The pandemic has hit hard, with millions of everyday working citizens losing their jobs and livelihoods. None would have imagined that Reddit would once again be in the spotlight for helping people.
In a report by Ella Koeze of The New York Times, it was revealed that a simple subreddit forum was stepping up in a big way to help those in need.
Since its discovery, thousands of unemployed citizens have started to flood the subreddit, known as r/unemployment, to seek help regarding welfare funds.
While government intervention was necessary to help citizens stay financially stable, the system broke down due to the large volume of requests. This was when the social media platform came to the rescue.
The stress of having to be unemployed, compounded by an ongoing pandemic, has led many Americans to Reddit in hopes of seeking answers to their financial woes.
Due to information overwhelming state offices and websites, the ease of reaching an official spokesperson to answer queries has become nearly impossible. Reddit has now become America's unofficial Unemployment Hotline, with hundreds of queries sent in daily.
Reddit to the rescue
Unemployed citizens had no other option but to flock to the internet to find the answers they needed. As more and more jobs were lost, the subreddit that once saw fewer than ten posts a day started to see a massive surge of people in need of guidance.
There are currently over 70,000 people on the forum, with 1,300 plus filings for claims. Individuals have to include the state they live in when asking questions about finance for a moderator to answer.
A lot of the activity on the forum also happens in the comments of individual posts, where people answer questions, share information and tips. While the claims are down at present, the surge of people to the forum suggests that official channels are still unable to cope with queries and provide assistance.
Unemployment insurance is usually funded and administered at the state level. However, owing to the pandemic, the federal stimulus package passed in March 2020 supplied funding for programs that further expanded eligibility to apply for benefits.
Individuals are not just coming to Reddit to seek help but also to offer it as well. Several users well versed with the workings of the system are coming to the rescue. These individuals are working nearly around the clock to help those in need by answering various questions related to benefits, claims, and insurance.
Despite the amount of help being offered, many are yet to receive any financial support from official sources. Furthermore, various posts on the subreddit mention that delays in payment have been caused by technical problems, overwhelming numbers, and audits for fraud.
Apart from financial help and clarification, the subreddit has also become a place where people can find a sense of commonality and community. It's unknown at the moment as to how long this issue will persist, but it's clear that the good citizens on Reddit will be there to help as many people as possible.