FLORISSANT, Mo. – A Florissant woman is facing a real struggle because of the State of Missouri’s push to force her to repay pandemic unemployment funds; the state says she was overpaid.
Sheneather Rich is in a tough situation. The state says she must pay back $3,300. She said that she had to apply for unemployment again because she had to quit her job after the pandemic due to getting hurt. She was supposed to get $320 a week.
Instead, the state had other ideas for the funds.
“They’re taking it and applying it to the overbalance, and my weekly payments are going straight to that,” Rich said. “I been filing every week, and my whole $320 check is going to there. Whole check, and I don’t understand why Governor Parson has not forgiven the state having us forgive this balance because the federal government did it. Shame on you, Governor Parson, because the people are bleeding and the band-aid needs to come on for us to get heal from this situation.”
Rich said she has no other source of income other than the unemployment checks that she is not getting.
“…at this point in time, I’m going to go live with my daughter. I’m looking for work daily, I don’t have money to pay the bill that need to be paid,” she said. “I’m behind on everything. I’m praying daily that a miracle can happen for me.”
Her troubles started during the COVID-19 pandemic when she was a school bus driver. Rich’s job stopped when schools shut down, and she had to turn to the government for help.
She claims the federal government has forgiven her nearly $6,000 debt.
However, the state is demanding $3,300.
“Some bus drivers, right now, are still going through having money garnished from their checks for this thing,” Rich said. “This was something that happened to all of us around the world. We didn’t see this coming. We were not prepared for it, okay, and yet we’re still paying for it three years in because of things like this.”
It is a problem affecting tens of thousands of families across Missouri. People are being forced to pay back some of the money they got during the hardest period of their lives—the pandemic. Many still have not recovered from the disaster.
Legislators are going to make another push at passing a law to prevent the state from collecting money that was overpaid. Governor Parson opposed the last attempt.
The legislation passed in the Missouri House, but fell short in the Senate.
Lawmakers like Missouri Rep. LaKeySha Bosley are ready to try again for the residents, like Rich, who is hoping for a break.