Her immune system kept her home; five weeks later she’s approved for unemployment

Posted at 8:34 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 21:34:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After five weeks of calls, emails and sharing medical records, Chelsea Catlin is finally just days away from her unemployment benefits.

She’s battled kidney failure and a debilitating disease, but Catlin says one of her biggest challenges was getting the attention of the state’s unemployment office.

“You call and you sit and you might get the music and then they’ll cut you off,” said Catlin.

Wednesday, for the first time in five weeks, she got a call back.

“You call and you sit and you might get the music and then they’ll cut you off,” said Catlin.

At first, Catlin didn’t know what to expect. All this time she was told the state required more medical records to show why she wasn’t capable of returning to work.

Catlin was diagnosed with systemic lupus at the age of 13, which drastically effected her immune system. So much so that even being in a room with four people, puts her at risk.

“I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve sent to the unemployment office, how many letters I’ve had my parents write and fax,” said Catlin.

We contacted the state and after a little digging on the their end, they found she had been working from home, but was entitled to at least half of her benefits.

Catlin certified for four weeks, but in two of those weeks she earned more than her weekly benefit amount.

“The other two weeks, she earned less than her weekly benefit amount and those weeks will pay out as a partial payment on regular unemployment in the next 48-72 hours, along with the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC),” said Chris Cannon of the Tennessee Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development.

We called Catlin shortly after and on the other end of the line was nothing short of relief. She tells us she had been working in a limited capacity from home, to pay bills and cover the expense of her medication.

“I know I’m not the only one that has these issues, so that’s why I am reaching out to see if I can help others who are also struggling right now,” said Catlin.