When the unemployment benefits stopped

Seven On Your Side
August 5, 2010 2:41:14 PM PDT
It's a common story these days. A family's solid financial standing - shaken by lay-offs. But the New Jersey family was pushed to the brink of collapse when the unemployment checks suddenly stopped coming.

It was up to 7 On Your Side to fight the state and make the family whole.

"It was heart-breaking. It was more or less, like you're ready to cry," Alan Cinquegrana said.

Cinquegrana is the rock of his family, but he was reduced to tears after he found out his job of 17 years was gone.

"You lay in bed at night and you don't know what's gonna happen," he said.

Since Alan had worked as a supervisor at a factory outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sent him unemployment checks. Then in May, the payments stopped.

And then, a second body blow. His wife lost her job. With no income, their house was on the brink of foreclosure.

"It was devastating because I didn't know how we would survive," Laurie Cinquegrana said.

Alan says this pay-stub was the caused the problem. A year ago, he took a job in New Jersey. But because of childcare issues, he quit after working just two days. Total earnings? Just 500 bucks.

After Alan reported this small income, Pennsylvania said he should be claiming unemployment in Jersey, not Pennsylvania.

There's just one problem.

"You had to make seven thousand, three hundred dollars in order to claim benefits in Jersey," Alan said.

That's right. Alan only earned $519, well short of 73-hundred. Pennsylvania then claimed it shouldn't have paid him in the first place and wanted back more than 15 grand.

"If I talked to Jersey, they had no clue what was going on and if I talked to Pennsylvania they had no clue what was going on," he said.

So 7 On Your Side called both states and days later, relief.

"It was a relief. A very big, well-needed relief for the family," Alan said.

Money started flowing into their checking account, nearly 4-thousand in back benefits sent from Pennsylvania.

The family was saved from foreclosure.

"I am tickled pink. I am very pleased, very happy. I, we never would have done it without you," Laurie said.

Citing privacy concerns, representatives from Pennsylvania and New Jersey couldn't comment about Alan's case. It turns out Pennsylvania owed him the benefits, not New Jersey, and now Alan's benefits have started again. New Jersey has paid Pennsylvania more than 15-grand. That should get rid of Alan's over-payment bill.

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