Woman says DES is demanding $4,500 be returned

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PHOENIX – Maggie Roskowinski says her most important job now is being mom but she says she's always held down an outside job for as long as she can remember. 

"At 13 I started babysitting and then getting smaller part-time jobs but I've been working forever," Maggie says.

Maggie said when she was laid off as an office worker back in 2009. It was the first time she had to ask for some assistance from the Department of Economic Security.  "I filed for unemployment in August of '09. I was just on it for four months. I was looking actively for a job. I didn't want to be unemployed, I had bills to pay."

Maggie said she was approved for unemployment benefits and received assistance but luckily, she wasn't on it very long because she landed another job and ended all assistance from DES. 

However, she got a strange letter in the mail later. "I was shocked, I was stressed out I just had a baby so getting a letter in the mail saying I owe the government $4,500 isn't a pleasant experience," she says.

Maggie says DES was demanding she return nearly $4,500 from the assistance she received. After calling DES to find out why, she discovered the agency had made an error.

Maggie says, "They charged the wrong account." She discovered there was a simple error on her account, one she couldn't get DES to correct. That mistake made it look like Maggie needed to return the assistance that she received.  

After getting nowhere with DES, she contacted 3 On Your Side.  

"It would take one person to go through and look at the paperwork and realize "Oh wow, this was our fault. There was no way she should have to be going through this for a year and a half."

3 On Your Side contacted the Department of Economic security and less than a day later the agency fixed the mistake that Maggie has been trying to make right for more than a year. 

"I could not have done it without you guys.  Gary Harper does such a wonderful community service, so thank you." 
DES says the snag is because they thought they were communicating with Maggie's previous employer regarding the benefits she received. However they were actually dealing with the wrong company which is why the benefits were being recalled.