In mid-September, the envelope finally arrived.
As Erin Madden opened it and pulled out the debit card with her UI on it, all she could think of was the semester she had been waiting for this moment. She had finally felt that this would never happen.
“I almost didn’t believe it was finally here,” said Madden, 28.
But there was the card, which would soon contain over $ 16,000.
Erin Madden waited almost seven months for her unemployment benefits.
Source: Erin Madden
More deeply in debt
Erin Madden: “It’s been four months and I don’t know when it’s going to end.”
Source: Erin Madden
Prior to the pandemic, Madden had credit card debt of around $ 6,500.
She was hoping to pay off this balance by the summer with her bar earnings, but when her paychecks stopped and unemployment checks didn’t replace them, she had to use her card to cover her basic needs. , which made his debt soar. over $ 10,000. The interest rate on his credit card is 22%.
As a result, even though she paid off her balance when her unemployment benefits came in, she still paid $ 680 in interest during the delay.
Insufficient fund charges
With no income, Madden’s bank account turned negative at times.
On two different occasions – once when a recurring medical bill was taken from her account and another time when her internet bill hit – her bank charged her an overdraft fee of $ 35.
Behind the rent
Madden’s monthly rent for his studio in Los Angeles is around $ 1,300.
Without unemployment benefits, she fell behind and eventually owed her landlord nearly $ 4,000.
“My landlord would text me and ask, ‘So you can’t pay the rent? When are you going to be able to pay it? “, Did she say. “I had no answer.”
She feared that she would be forced out of her apartment, “and suddenly have an eviction on my rental history, which would make it difficult to secure housing in the future. Many leasing companies do not rent. not to people evicted from their homes. record. “
Forced to borrow money
As she was falling behind on her bills, Madden decided to ask her boyfriend, David, if he could lend her some money.
He gave her about $ 6,000 so that she could pay for her rent, car, and health care.
“Borrowing money from my boyfriend made me feel bad,” Madden said. Luckily he’s a great guy and he did everything he could to make me feel supported, but I still couldn’t help but feel like a burden – especially since he works for the companies. airlines and was concerned about layoffs; many of his peers have lost their jobs. “
She also turned to her parents for help with food and gas, which also made her uncomfortable.
“I’m fine as an adult at this point and I’ve never had a hard time supporting myself so far,” she said.
Madden was forced to make tough decisions during the six months she had no income.
Her car needed fixing, but she didn’t have the money to take it to the mechanic. She could no longer afford to continue seeing her therapist and canceled several more doctor’s appointments, stressed about the copayment.
Earlier this year, Madden was diagnosed with a condition that made her heart beat abnormally fast. There is a procedure for this, called ablation, “which cures it effectively,” Madden said, “but with my current health insurance, the procedure will still cost me about $ 1,600 out of my pocket.”
She postponed that too.
Sick of stress
The long delay in her performances left Madden gravely anxious, she said.
And the situation was difficult to explain to others.
“Some people in my life made it seem like it was my fault that I hadn’t received payment yet. They were like, ‘If I were you, I would call them every day until I ‘they’re fixing’ like I haven’t received payment yet. have called them over 1,000 times already, ”Madden said.
Yet even as her belief that she would never see payments dwindled, she continued to call her unemployment department and sent her story to TBEN.
“There were many days when I thought I would never see the money and suddenly find myself stuck with a mountain of credit card debt and out of work,” Madden said. “The uncertainty made my stomach hurt.”
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