Woman: Unemployment might not always be a benefit

Woman: Unemployment might not always be a benefit
BOISE, Idaho - A stack of legal papers and a bill topping $1,600 - that's what Kristina Kettele of Boise is left with after filing for unemployment. After working at the same job for two years she decided to quit.

"I felt I had a justified reason for leaving," Kristina Kettele said.

Kettele filed for unemployment and received it. Then her former employer appealed. Kettele lost the appeal and later received a notice from the labor department.

"I received a statement saying they overpaid me $1,639. Then a couple weeks after that, I got another letter, a bill, saying I owe them the money and they want $137 a month. I obviously don't have any income, how in the world am I going to pay them $137 a month," Kettele said.

The Idaho Department of Labor has a strict policy, which states it does not comment on specific cases. But, officials do have advice for filers.

“If there's the potential for a dispute you need to probably be very conservative about how you dispose of the money you receive until you're confident no appeal has been filed or that you've won on the appeal. Otherwise you're going to owe that money," Bob Fick, Labor Department spokesman said.

Fick reminds folks there's a process to collecting unemployment.

First, the claimant files and the employer has a period of time to respond. If contested, an appeal is filed with the Labor Department. If the second ruling is contested, an appeal can be filed with the Industrial Commission. After that, the case could go to the Idaho Supreme Court.

“The consultants do the best they can, the department does the best it can, but it's handcuffed by the information it gets or doesn't get from the parties involved in these claims," Fick said.

Kettele can accept her claim being denied but she says after getting stuck with a whopping bill, she'd like to see some changes.

“They need to have some kind of procedure where if the paperwork is still in the works they shouldn't be giving you your unemployment. I'm concerned about what they're doing to people and what they're doing to me," Kettele said.

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