Where’s my money? Isle of Wight woman latest to question federal unemployment benefits

Coronavirus

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — If you rely on someone else to take care of your child while you’re at work or they’re at camp — chances are that caregiver was trained by Katie Humphrey of Windsor.

The registered nurse and healthcare consultant’s business dried up when COVID-19 rolled in. Now, she’s hoping for a quick cure for our ailing unemployment system.

Humphrey trains caregivers on how to give medications to children. Think YMCAs, daycares, before and after care programs, and — this time of year especially — summer camps.

“One of my biggest clients is Virginia Beach Parks & Rec,” Humphrey said.

But in this summer of financial discontent when there’s no time for fun and games, Humphrey’s business has stopped.

“My most lucrative time financially is mid-April to mid-June because everybody’s getting ready for summer camps. Well, all of that is gone.”

As a business owner she qualified for a small business Paycheck Protection Program loan, which covered her salary for eight weeks. Humphrey then applied for traditional state unemployment from VEC and was rejected.

As an apparent safety net, she was approved for payments from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

But her efforts to track down when those PUA payments would actually start turned into weeks of frustration.

“One day in three minutes I was disconnected 27 times. So you get into the system and it just says ‘goodbye’ and it disconnects you.”

Humphrey has been calling since May 11, the last time she was able to speak to a real person.

“The thing that’s so frustrating to me is like it’s almost like the system wants you to give up, and I’m not gonna give up.”

A reminder for anyone collecting or trying to collect unemployment right now: The $600 weekly federal supplement will expire July 31, unless Congress approves some kind of extension.


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