Michigan business owner awaits director approval for $ 12,000 in UIA payments


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – A western Michigan business owner says that despite multiple calls to the state’s unemployment insurance agency and being referred to a manager, she still owes thousands of dollars.

Jessica Roodvoets says she checks her account every day hoping something will change. She has been waiting since March and says she still owes nearly $ 12,000.

“At this point, I really feel like there is nothing I can do,” Roodvoets said.

She’s quite stressed out, which is a big change from her usual relaxing routine that runs international women’s retreats.

The therapeutic process includes excursions, massages, yoga, and breathing exercises, all to help women reconnect with themselves.

“I’ve never been in this situation in my life and I think a lot of businesses were able to easily pivot, you know, keep their restaurants open for take out, do outdoor yoga classes, but for me, with the borders closed and movement limited, there was not much I could do to quickly supplement this income, ”she said.

As a business owner, Jessica was not entitled to regular unemployment.

But she still had to register in April and wait to be refused before asking for help in the event of an unemployment pandemic (PUA). This refusal only came in July. Then, after calling several times, I was told that a manager had to approve it.

“I get different responses from just about every person I talk to,” she said. “They don’t really seem to be highly skilled – and even if they are, they don’t have a lot of authority to do much to help.”

She says workers have now escalated her claim five times, but there have been no changes to her MiWAM account.

“Honestly, it’s a bit traumatic for me to keep checking in because it’s just every time someone tells me ‘oh it’s going to get out of hand and it should happen in a few days’ and every time I check and it’s not. ”she said.

In total, Jessica says she owes over $ 12,000 in after-tax salary arrears.

She received about $ 800 in normal benefits, but continues to receive odd deposits of $ 38 the other weeks – which she says falls short of her weekly benefit amount and does not include the increase. $ 600 / $ 300 from the federal government.

She wrote to the agency asking why she only received small deposits and also to verify her missing money. This message was sent on August 17th.e. More than a month later, she is still waiting for a response.

“So it’s been pretty frustrating and stressful and honestly it’s fair – I almost wonder if they’re going to give me the money at all like I felt like it was kind of a game with which I played myself a bit, I don’t understand why they would make it so difficult to meet their basic needs in an already incredibly stressful and trying situation.

Jessica says it’s a tough time now, because if she wants to retire next year, she has to make deposits now, which she plans to do.

She also wants to donate a portion of her profits to help local indigenous communities who have been negatively affected by COVID and travel bans.

Click here to learn more about his retreats.


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