VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – There was the typo that forced Katina DeVaughn to wait four months for $13,500 she had coming to her in unemployment benefits. There was the abrupt stop to her benefits three months later with no explanation. And let’s not forget the loss of both parents to cancer in a four-month span.

DeVaughn, a Virginia Beach resident, has had her share of problems with the state’s unemployment system. But this year, she has had to bear even bigger burdens.

10 On Your Side interviewed her as she went into the Chesapeake courthouse Tuesday afternoon to take care of her father’s estate. It kind of makes her unemployment problems pale in comparison, she said.

“I lost my mother in January and then I just lost my father last month,” DeVaughn said.

In our initial report last year, she received a $13,500 check for a lump sum of back payments during the pandemic. But the Virginia Employment Commission misspelled her name, so the check was worthless. With the help of 10 On Your Side and the staff of state Sen. Bill DeSteph (R- Virginia Beach), that got sorted out.

Then her payments stopped in March. She says she can’t get any answers from the VEC, no matter how early or late she calls.

“[I’ve called] as early as six o’clock in the morning, to as late as seven o’clock at night, and still can’t get nobody,” she said.

DeVaughn says money is getting low, but she has faith that she’ll continue to be able to make ends meet. She’s trying to keep a positive outlook despite the personal loss and financial pressure.

“I need my money,” DeVaughn said with a laugh. “I thank God that I still have money left from the other lump sum that you helped me get.”

DeVaughn is trying to claim benefits under the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March. It continued programs that originally took effect at the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago.

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