MONEE, Ill. (CBS) – At CBS 2, we always work for Chicago – and almost every day we are reminded of the power of a well-placed phone call or email.
A Monee couple believe it was an email from us that finally helped them get the stimulus money they’ve been waiting for since last April. CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Friday night on the long and winding story that ended in failure.
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Mike and Debbie Brandt of Monee are laughing about it now because they finally can. But they called us to explain how their wait for their stimulus check in 2021 turned into a months-long job.
“When we first got the letter from the IRS in April, they said we were going to get the $5,600 – and if we didn’t get it, to call them,” Debbie Brandt said.
You will recall that there were problems with this deployment. The Brandts thought theirs was just delayed, but in August they learned they were receiving a debit card, not a check, from a different financial institution than they originally thought.
“Another bank sent us a debit card,” Debbie said, “and that’s where the problem lies.”
This bank was Money Network. Debbie called to ask where the card was.
“The lady I spoke to was like, ‘Oh no, you’re out of money on your card,'” Debbie says. “I said, ‘Well, we never got a card! “”
The Brandts say records show someone found his card last April and spent $1,200 at Luis Vuitton, and also withdrew $2,000 in cash, among other things.
“She said, ‘Well, you spent it,'” Debbie said. “I said, ‘No, we didn’t. “”
The couple therefore appealed last October, sending in a police report, letters and more – but the Brandts say they were refused. Every month since, they have been trying to get their due, spending hours on the phone.
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“So we have no idea why it’s being challenged or why it’s being rejected, and it continues,” Mike said.
After their last refusal, they called us and we emailed Money Network. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said they contacted The Brandts directly with the results of an investigation.
Ten months after the pledge, and a week after we reached out, a check showed up on the couple’s doorstep via FedEx.
The Brandts are happy, but worried about the others in the same boat, without the time or resources they have devoted to finding him.
“We’re lucky that we don’t desperately need this money, but how many families are there?” Mike said. “And that is our concern.”
There’s still a lot we don’t know about what happened here. How was the debit card stolen? Why has Money Network denied the couple so often? What changed in the two weeks to get their money?
After several solicitations, the bank’s spokesperson did not answer our questions.
CBS 2 is committed to Work for Chicagoconnecting you every day with the information you or a loved one may need in the job market and helping you break down barriers to returning to work.
We will continue to uncover information every day to help this community get back to work, until the jobs crisis passes. CBS 2 offers several helpful items right here on our website, including an overview of specific companies that are hiring and state information on how best to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.
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