“I was laid off from my machining job in late March as the company started to shut down preemptively. The next week, I applied for unemployment, before the pandemic unemployment assistance from Whitmer and was denied due to an error. I reapplied for the PUA and it took three and a half weeks to get payment.

“I spent that whole three and a half weeks begging companies to give me an extension on my bills. Things like my electric and rent just couldn’t get paid.

“Once the PUA started coming through, the site was hard to use but I figured it out. It went well for about three payments, which is a month and a half, from late April through May. I was denied my second payment in May.

“I certified and was supposed to get a payment. When I looked online, it was just gone. I messaged three or four times through the account but never got a response. I’ve tried calling them, too, but it’s just impossible to get through for any assistance.

“I got my first payment in June. When I applied for the next certification, it said the claim had ended the week previously. There was no explanation, no communication, they just said that my claim had ended. No e-mail, no letter, nothing. There was no explanation for why it was suddenly canceled. I’ve sent messages and reapplied since then and still haven’t heard anything back on how that’s going. I don’t think they’re going to respond to me.

“I have a job interview coming up for a place in Kalamazoo, so I know places are opening up, but I’m really worried about what’s going to happen. Are we going to shut back down because the numbers are going up? If it does shut down, is unemployment-PUA going to give us a longer period of time?

“We didn’t get forgiveness like they said, we just have longer to pay. If you’re going to give us forgiveness, give us actual forgiveness. Just wipe that debt. There’s no reason I should be having the necessities pile up on me.

“What happens at the end of July when everything comes crashing down again? You took our jobs away from us. It’s just really stressful.

“Fortunately, the car lease company and our landlord have been very understanding and have worked with me to make sure I don’t lose things.

“Things didn’t start looking up for our family until my wife started working again, but now I have to get back to work. Depending on the state has been nothing but stressful, because I don’t know if they’re going to come through.

“I just feel really betrayed by the state. I feel stabbed in the back. I had a job that was going to be getting me education and everything else, and they just snatched my life out from underneath me and said, ‘good luck.’

“It was irresponsible and wasn’t done well. I have no faith in this state anymore. The state doesn’t care.”

Chase Plank
Sturgis, Michigan