PONTIAC, Mich. — While the state works to figure out how the Supreme Court’s ruling on executive orders affects unemployment here in Michigan, thousands are waiting for benefits.
Many haven’t been paid at all and they’re getting mixed messages from the agency.
“It’s been really stressful. It’s been really really stressful,” said Sara Navarre.
She came to Michigan from Florida in 2018 to help her uncle.
“And when I first came out here I was not planning on living here full time. I thought I was just coming out here to help him transition into a new home.”
After returning to Florida with her daughter, she quit her master’s program to move back to Michigan and be with her uncle full-time.
Sara says got a job through Care.com helping people in hospice care, mostly children. But that 1099 work quickly ended.
“When COVID hit,” she said “that’s when everything completely went downhill.”
That’s when another struggle started. Sara applied for unemployment benefits but says the claim never went through and would not process.
“And I had done it five or six times answered all the questions and they said we don’t have any submissions for you at all can you go and do it again,” said Navarre.
Two more attempts and still nothing. It finally went through months later in September.
She says her weekly benefit was the minimum offered, $160 a week, even after she submitted her 1099 proof of wages. Then, more back-and-forth with the agency.
“My alert for my identity has not gone away, my open non-monetary issue has not gone away.”
And every time she calls it’s a different story.
“It’s just a lot of inconsistencies from the office giving me so many different directives all across the board to where I don’t really know how to proceed anymore,” she said.
Sara says she’s owed more than $20,000. Her account has been flagged with a non-monetary issue since February and it’s stayed that way all summer.
A struggle that’s taking a toll on her and her family.
“I know I’m not the only one but there’s a lot of people that have kids you know and I’ve always done everything the right way in my life,” said Navarre, “I’ve worked very, very hard for everything I’ve obtained I don’t have a lot of stuff but the stuff I have I’ve worked hard for it so it’s really discouraging.”
She says her emails are going unanswered.
“The part that gets me is that there’s no support telling you ‘this is where we’re at with this, this is what’s happened, expect for this’. If you don’t have anything to expect you’re just kind of stuck in this unknowing phase and not knowing how you’re going to provide for your family if beyond stressful.”
The UIA says there are more than 800,000 active claims.
We’ve asked the agency how many managers are on staff to approve the claims and release the funds but have not received a response.