"It is a tough situation, if my business survives."
Margie Garrett opened Ark Veterinary Services in 2001. Twenty years later, the Coronavirus pandemic has her considering closing her doors for good, with owners less willing to take their pets in to the clinic.
"You have that grief and loss and and anger, and all of the disappointing portions of loss," said Garrett. "And so we've met people with that. People angry they can't come in."
Early in the pandemic, Margie applied and received a small Paycheck Protection Program loan, allowing her to keep her employees on staff. However, Margie say one of her employees needed to stay home with her children. So as the PPP rules dictate Margie paid her 75 percent of her salary.
"Then, her husband got a job in Florida, so she said she was quitting to move," said Garrett. "And what happened was she had applied for unemployment, even though I was paying her the 75 percent required. She ended up getting unemployment, because there were no questions asked and has been collecting unemployment since that time."
Any time an employee claims unemployment, an employers unemployment insurance policy goes up. For a small business like Margie's, living on the margins during this pandemic, that could be detrimental. It also caused friction in the work place.
"I don't want my insurance rates to go up. But the other employees also felt scammed," said Garrett. "They had to come in and work."
Margie says she sent repeated appeals to the department of work force development to fight the unemployment claims.
"I've sent many emails to that effect in the timely manner each time I get the notice," said Garrett.
However the employee continues to receive weekly benefits from the state.
We once again reach out the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to discuss Margie's situation. They once again declined to comment.
As for Margie, she just wants people to remember that we're all in the same boat.
"This is a tragedy for everyone," said Garrett. "It is a pandemic of not fault of any of the workers or any of the people who have employed them".
44 investigates will stay on these stories of unemployment, and if you have a story you'd like us to look into, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.