Dear John: As you know, driving for a living has always been tough. But now, it’s tougher than ever.
I had a small service, but as Uber came in, I started driving more and more for it until I was doing it full time.
I’ve driven with Uber for almost seven years — over 13,000 trips.
On March 19, I started feeling a pain in my chest, and feeling very tired for no reason. I called my doctor, who promptly got me tested for COVID-19. It came back positive. I’m 64 years old, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was lucky. I cleared the virus, and then I realized that there was no work.
When my doctor gave me the note to isolate until the test results came back, I contacted Uber. It had made a big show of how it was going to support its drivers.
I followed the company’s procedures and submitted the documents to receive 14 days of financial assistance. I was not working for three weeks, so I really was hopeful and grateful that it had this plan to help drivers.
I’ve submitted the documents over five times, and have spoken with Uber’s support people multiple times. I have not received even a response to my request for financial assistance because of my COVID-19 infection.
I’m now driving for Instacart delivering groceries to make ends meet.
The way Uber set up its plan, there was supposed to be a payment of two weeks’ worth of earnings based on the average of your earnings over the previous six months. My average was approximately $1,750 per week. That would be, if it followed through on its promise, $3,500 in sick pay based on my earnings.
I don’t have the luxury of sitting around waiting for Uber to live up to its promise. I’m struggling. With my youngest son in his junior year of college and all the other expenses, it’s very tough. If you could help me with this, it would get us through until things are moving again. Hope to hear from you soon. C.F.
Dear C.F.: As you know, I contacted Uber on your behalf and your benefits were granted in less than a day. You should get the money shortly.
An Uber spokesman said: “The process for this driver clearly took too long, but we’ve now reviewed and approved the claim and reached out to apologize to him. While we’ve already provided millions of dollars in COVID-19-related sick leave for drivers, we know the process still needs to get better, which is why we’re actively working to improve support.
“Like many organizations and governments, we have received far more support requests than we normally do, and now advise all those who apply that we aim to process their request within 7 business days,” he added.
Glad I could expedite this. Hope you are feeling better.