“After the auto parts manufacturer I work for was shut down due to COVID-19, I attempted to file an unemployment claim.

“It was almost two weeks before I got through online, and I couldn’t get through on the phone. I sent a message to unemployment asking what to do and continued to try to get through on the phone.

“Two days later, I finally got placed in a call queue where I was on hold for about two hours. The woman I spoke with did not seem interested in actually helping, which I can understand because she was probably tired. She asked me, ‘Why has it taken you two weeks to contact us?’ So I explained I had been trying. She then said I couldn’t have direct deposit, but needed the money to be put on a card. When we ended the call, I thought I was done.

“I then got [a message] that I would have to make a little over $6,000 to be eligible for unemployment again. This letter was dated March 23, before I had even gotten through to refile.

“April 13 was my next certification date. I answered the questions for each week and after I submitted each of them, I got the same message: ‘After deductions, your benefit amount is $0.’

“Early last week, I decided to appeal the March 23 letter and sent a copy of my last paycheck once again, since speaking with them on the phone obviously didn’t count.

“I [finally] contacted the attorney general and asked for help. They had to put in two calls to unemployment on my behalf but they finally got the problem fixed. I got my employment.

“The state tells us we can’t work and to sign up for unemployment. Unemployment takes us in circles. They don’t care about helping.

“Meanwhile, our resources dwindle by the day with no end in sight. It’s depressing and frustrating. We’re rationing everything. Food, toilet paper, shower essentials…. even our pet food. It’s scary. I don’t even want to think about the families with children to feed.

“It’s like no one cares.”

Joshua Richardson
Jackson, Michigan