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College student waiting on PUA payments after social security mix-up

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Posted at 5:38 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 21:05:39-05

GOBLES, Mich. — A Gobles college student who attends Michigan State University is scared she may have to pay back more than $5,000 to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency after a mix-up with her social security number.

“Thank goodness my parents like have been there because it wouldn’t have been possible,” said McKenzie Winne.

She used to work in the athletic department at MSU. In fact, she had two jobs set for this summer. But when the pandemic forced people off campus in March, she applied for unemployment.

“I actually applied for the PUA because I only had a student job so it doesn’t qualify for regular unemployment,” she said.

Her payments stopped after five weeks due to a non-monetary issue. The agency needed McKenzie to verify her ID. As it turns out, her social security number was off by one digit.

“I know a lot of people have been having issues and I think they were just trying to get money out to people as fast as possible,” she said.

When the money stopped in May she tried certifying but says someone filed using her social security number saying they worked at two Tropical Smoothie locations in Kalamazoo.

That’s when she filed an identity theft report and set up an online appointment.

“And they said I just needed to upload my documents like my license, my social security card, my birth certificate, passport, W2s. I uploaded them and they said it would get resolved quickly.”

That “quickly” has now turned into eight months. The agency sent her a letter in November saying she failed to provide the evidence needed and she’s not eligible for benefits.

Then another notice says she was overpaid more than $5,400. She’s just trying to get some answers before it’s too late.

“I have to apply to grad school, I have to pay for school, I have to pay for rent. There are so many things that are on your plate that I’ve been told that this would be resolved, multiple times, before school even started. But then again like four times since school started and nothing’s happened in eight months.”

McKenzie says while she waits she’s been able to pick up a tutoring position as more kids head to online classes.

But with grad school coming up it’ll be harder to find a job that fits her schedule.

She told FOX 17 someone from the fraud department is supposed to call her back within the next two weeks.

If you have similar issues or need to report fraud you can visit Michigan.gov/UIA.

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