VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — So close, but so far away. Katina DeVaughn got a big check from the Virginia Employment Commission that would’ve helped eliminate her mounting debt, but it turned out to be worthless.

DeVaughn initially applied for unemployment back in March of 2020 and was denied, but found out she qualified for federal assistance from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The safety net provided a $600 weekly supplement to regular payments.

DeVaughn would get back benefits from March through July, a total of $13,518. VEC sent her a check for that exact amount, but one little problem has turned into a big problem. VEC spelled her name wrong.

“They spelled it D-E-V-O-N and the correct spelling is D-E-V-A-U-G-H-N,” she said.

She took it to her bank, but they wouldn’t cash it. VEC told her to send the check back with a copy of her driver’s license, and they’d reissue a corrected check. She did that Aug. 27.

“I have been calling every week since then and basically I’ve been getting the run around.”

Her husband Robert has had multiple cardiac arrests and is on disability with a pacemaker.
They’re behind on their bills “probably about $7,000,” DeVaughn says, with rent, utilities and other obligations. She would be thankful tomorrow if she could just recover what she has coming to her.

“With the holidays coming up, I am very frustrated, especially with the new year coming in. We’re trying to catch up.”

10 On Your Side has contacted the VEC and the office of Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Va. Beach). He and his staff have helped hundreds of people with unemployment claims during the pandemic.

DeSteph sent Gov. Ralph Northam a letter last week, urging him to get the VEC to be more responsive for people when they need benefits to afford the necessities of life.

We’ve reached out to the governor’s press office for response.