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Unemployment agency asking for thousand of dollars back from man who’s been dead for six years

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    WEST BRANCH, Michigan (WNEM) — “That’s just the thing, he was dead and this 1099, it’s for 2020,” West Branch resident Betty Pope said.

For Betty losing her husband was hard enough but now he’s at the center of an issue with the unemployment insurance agency.

Recently she got a notice stating that her husband Michael Pope needed to pay back thousands of dollars to the UIA but there’s another problem.

“My husband passed away in September 2014,” she said.

According to Betty it is impossible for her husband to have collected benefits, not only because he has passed away but because he was on disability for over 20 years before he died, so she questions how would he have been collecting money for a job he never had.

“He was disabled since he was 38 years old,” she said. “So, I thought it’s just a mix-up and I didn’t think anything more of it.”

She was so sure it was a mistake she even threw the letter away but now the UIA is taking it a step further. Even sending her a 1099 form for the year 2020 to make her pay taxes on the money she says she never got.

“I was getting ready to file income tax and you know how you go through everything to make sure you have it all and there was a 1099 stating that he received $5,640 dollars from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity,” she said.

When she calls the UIA, she can’t resolve the issue.

“It’s just all prompt and there’s nothing there to prompt to push to report it,” Betty said.

TV5 reached out to the UIA for this story but have not heard back.

In recent exchanges though, Lynda Robinson with the agency said that letters noting that benefits must be paid back are likely sent in the case of an overpayment, not likely a mistake and if someone disagrees with the outcome they can protest it online.

Betty doesn’t have an account, so it’s been tough for her to do this. To add insult to injury, she says she is now grieving her husband all over again.

“Frustrated and not only that but for my children and me it’s bringing up all those emotions all over again from 2014,” she said.

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