BYRON CENTER, Mich. — A Byron Center woman is still unable to file for unemployment months after she lost her job, because someone else used her social security number to get benefits.
She’s now back to work but reached out to problem solvers after getting nowhere with the UIA.
“So, every time I would get a call from somebody I’d have to start over from the beginning to explain that you’re not gonna find my name and date of birth in your system,” said Kelli Kotman.
She was furloughed in May due to COVID. The social worker at Mercy Health tells Fox 17 that she was out of a job for more than two months.
When she tried to sign up for benefits she got an error telling her, “the information you entered is not correct. Please verify your social security number and date of birth.”
“So they would always have to look it up through the social security number and they could see that someone had used my number to claim benefits but it wasn’t me,” she said.
Kelli doesn’t even know if she’s eligible but she needs to sign up to find out for sure. She tells me her HR representative recommended she at least try. She’s now back to work but still unable to file for the time she was off.
She could never get through to the UIA on the phone so she reached out to lawmakers who helped her get a call back from the agency.
“But anytime they called they said they didn’t have my name in the system they didn’t have my phone number in the system they didn’t have my date of birth in the system and that was because I never filed the claim,” she said.
That’s why she filled out an identity theft statement saying she did not file, certify, get paid, and she wants the claim closed. She’s also now worried about her taxes.
“I did get clarification that it did get paid out, it wasn’t identity verified before it was paid out and so that needs to also get straightened out before I can even apply for benefits,” Kotman said. “So when I go to file my taxes next year, if the IRS has been notified that money was paid out under my SSN then I’m gonna be responsible for the taxes on it.”
Kelli contacted Fox 17 after Problem Solvers was able to fix a similar case.
“I saw how quickly you seemed to be able to get answers and I thought ‘hey, there might be other people like me have the same issue and at least I can get the story out there and see if there’s some help for people like me,” she said.
Kotman’s case has now been referred to the UIA’s fraud department after we reached out but she’s still waiting for an answer.