Pierce County woman's unemployment claim disqualified over identity issue

On Monday, the Employment Security Commissioner announced more than 80 thousand unemployment claims that were sitting in limbo were resolved, but thousands of people are still waiting for a response.

Katie Krier is a mother of three children between the ages of three and ten. She moved out of her home in Pierce County and used her savings to make ends meet.

“Due to corona I’m out of work, and obviously staying home full-time and homeschooling,” said Krier. “I don’t live off of the system. I don’t like to. I don’t like asking for help. When I ask for help, it’s because I need it.”

Back in May, she received two payment after filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) but soon after she was disqualified. The Employment Security Department (ESD) told her it was due to failure to provide identity.

“From the beginning I have sent in every documentation that was asked of me. Everything to prove that I am who I am. I sent in my social security card, my birth certificate, my marriage license to show my change of name,” said Krier.

Krier believes she’s facing this challenge following the imposter fraud attack that was discovered back in May, when $576 billion was stolen in fraudulent insurance claims.

“As result of the switch and dramatic action we took, we’ve prevented substantial funds from going out," said Commissioner Suzi LeVine. "I know that there were many people impacted by the decision to pause the payment of claims and I am so sorry for the impact for those legitimate claimants. That was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career.”

LeVine said the countermeasure prevented an additional $200 million from being stolen, and that the amount stolen could’ve potentially grabbed an additional $1.5 to $4 billion if the criminal activity went unnoticed.

As for Krier, she’s doing everything she can on her end. After reaching out to state Senator Steve Conway’s office, Krier said she’s waiting to hear a response from ESD.

“We’re not just numbers in your system. I’m not defined by my claim number. I’m a human with needs,” said Krier, who said she will keep submitting weekly claims. “I keep hoping that when I check my claim every single morning that it will change from disqualified to paid.”

Q13 News will continue following this story. Check back for updates.