MUSKEGON COUNTY, Michigan – A Muskegon County artist finally has most of her money out of unemployment after speaking with the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.
She received over $ 15,000 in arrears shortly after we released her story.
“And I kept checking and verifying and eventually got money in my account,” said Paula Johnson.
We first met her in May.
She directed the Lakeshore School of Fine Arts at Norton Shores for over 30 years. The artist filed for unemployment after the state forced it to close.
“I don’t think I would have achieved anything without Problem Solvers to be perfectly honest with you because I had been trying for over a year,” she said.
During that year she never got paid and every time she called the UIA she got a different response.
“We’re talking to different people and they don’t know what they’re talking about, I swear they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Johnson told FOX 17 in May. “We send them ID, we send them this, we send them that over and over again by email, by fax, by certified mail.”
Without money, she had to shut down her art studio for good.
Her clients with special needs, including those who were blind or autistic, were now displaced.
Paula waited more than 10 months to receive benefits but still no response from the UIA.
“All I kept getting was circles,” she said. “I spoke to so and so, they don’t know anything. I spoke to so and so, they don’t know anything. Finally, you know, things started to happen when FOX 17 came in and did whatever it was doing with its magic buttons or whatever.
Paula was finally able to pay some bills and buy new tires for her truck.
$ 16,000 was sent to her checking account after FOX 17 Problem Solvers contacted the agency.
“I think they’re awesome,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for people to turn to someone who can help them when they are running out of steam. Everyone is like, “Oh, call the problem solvers.” I said ‘No’ but my nephew did and I’m really glad he did.
Paula tells us that she is still expecting about $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 in benefits for this year, but the UIA told her it is still pending.
She is always looking for a new location to reopen her art school.