GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Wyoming woman dealing with unemployment says the stress the agency put her through has affected her health.
Over the last several months she’s been getting letters from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency asking her to repay nearly $10,000.
When Jill Paasch signed up for benefits, her social security number was off by one digit.
“It’s like is anybody listening to me,” Paasch asked over a Zoom call.
She worked for MFP Automation Engineering for 11 years. After a layoff due to COVID, it took weeks to get through to unemployment. When she signed up on her phone, she messed up part of her social security number.
“They said ‘we need to mesh these two social security numbers together and two accounts together’, well I thought everything would be taken care of,” said Paasch.
She filled out a form after the agency requested more information, explaining that she hit one number wrong while signing up on her phone.
“It’s just one little mistake and then when I talked to people at unemployment, ‘we’ll fix it don’t worry we got your paperwork’, just frustrating that one little mistake can cause total havoc.”
Jill finally got paid, but it wasn’t the full amount. Someone put her under a PUA account instead of regular state benefits, which were higher. The payments obviously stopped in August after she got a new job, but her issues were far from over.
“And then the letters started rolling in saying that I was fraudulent,” said Paasch.
The mix-up was likely due to the social security issue. Jill says the UIA told her not to worry and that she didn’t owe, but the paperwork said otherwise. The UIA wanted back nearly $10,000.
“And the stress from all this chaotic mess has just been terrible,” she said.
In October she got a bill saying she missed a payment and the past due amount was $125 dollars.
Once again, she called the UIA.
“She says, ‘give me 14 days’. So, after two weeks I started calling again seeing where my thing was, ‘well ma’am that might take you up to eight weeks to get this straightened out’. Ok, alright, I’m patient. November came I got another letter.”
This time, the letter told her she missed two monthly payments and was now behind $250. It also said continuing to not pay could result in collections.
Which was laid out more in another letter just before Christmas. It told her if she doesn’t pay then the money could be intercepted by the U.S. or Michigan Department of Treasury, garnishments, or the UIA would take her to court.
After contacting Fox 17, we learned she does not owe the money and the collection letters are supposed to stop.
“If you can help me in such a tremendous way then maybe there’s others who should be reaching out to you and you help them too because you seemed to have gotten something moving on my case,” she said.
Jill is also owed more than $6,000 in adjustments. Thanks to work by the FOX 17 Problem Solvers, that money should be in her account in three to five days.