VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — For Katina DeVaughn, 13,518 was the magic number. She had seen that same number on a check about four months ago. A check that might as well have been a paper napkin — as far as its actual value.
The money was a lump sum payment for pandemic unemployment benefits, however the Virginia Employment Commission had misspelled her name as “Devon,” so the bank wouldn’t take it. But in the past two weeks, her life has changed.
“It has changed thanks to WAVY News 10 On Your Side.” DeVaughn said in a Monday morning interview.
We got State Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Va. Beach) involved. His staff has solved problems for thousands of Virginians having trouble getting benefits.
“He made sure that I received the benefits and he guaranteed me that I would,” DeVaughn said.
She got the good news Thursday when VEC credited her Way-2-Go account for “the whole $13,518,” with one pesky string attached.
“I’m only allowed to draw out a certain amount, there’s a daily limit with the VEC, of only $500 a day,” she said.
So it will take several days for her to clear the debts. She owes $3,000 on her car note alone — but the next few weeks will be a time for happier holidays.
“I’m a whole lot less stressed now,” DeVaughn said with a laugh. “When I called y’all, y’all came out and you said you would investigate and you did. You helped me and my family.”
DeVaughn says the money will help her get her credit back in shape so that she and her husband can realize their next financial goal: purchasing a home, a goal they’ve set for 2021.
DeSteph and his staff have helped hundreds who are out-of-work navigate the VEC bureaucracy during the pandemic. DeSteph sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam two weeks ago, urging him to get the VEC to be more responsive at a time when Virginians who’ve lost jobs are struggling just to afford the basics.