MUSKEGON, Mich. — A Muskegon mother is working overtime to help her son get his unemployment benefits.
He’s back to work and can’t spend all day on the phone. Despite having a job herself, she’s doing whatever she can to try and help.
“I think I emailed them about 40 times, and I got three responses and they were all canned responses,” said Sherri King.
She’s been fighting for her son’s unemployment for more than a year.
“Ninety percent of the time someone was giving me different information. That was the frustrating part.”
Casey doesn’t own a computer, so mom helped sign him up for unemployment last spring after he got laid off from his painting job with a reconstruction company.
“It was really confusing for me because I barely know how to file my taxes let alone file for unemployment, make a post for everything that has to go on and figure out where I need to apply and who I need to get ahold of,” said Casey.
His only sources of income at the time were his taxes and stimulus checks. He went back to work two months later.
“We’re probably never going to see this money. I really had no hope in it at all,” he said.
His first claim got denied, saying Casey has only been on the job 10 days. Both he and his mom told me that was not the case and in fact he’d been there months.
Then, they were told to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
“And they said, ‘Yes—absolutely it’s been approved,’ but now it’s a lump sum because it’d been so long, it has to go to a manager’s desk.”
Processed-pending payment showed up on his account and stayed there for the next six months.
“So, during that six months,” she said, “we’re just being told the same thing every time we call: ‘It’s pending, you’re approved, just gotta be approved by a manager then it’s gonna go through.’”
They sent multiple messages to the agency looking for a status update, saying he needed a supervisor, and letting the UIA know it’s been a year.
But they tell FOX 17 not one response was ever sent back telling him what was going on.
In one message he wrote, "What do I have to do to get the benefits due to me? I have tried to be patient, but I have bills I must pay."
Letters dated February just showed up in the mail last month. Despite getting COVID in November, Sherri kept fighting.
They’re both wondering if Casey will ever get the money.
“He really said, ‘I’m gonna be shocked if I ever see it.’ And I said, ’Over my dead body. You’ll get the money.’”
Casey may have made an error and accidentally waived his weeks while certifying, but Sherri told me of all the times she connected to a representative—they said it looked good.
After sending his claim to the agency, the UIA tells me it’s looking into his case.
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