Where to turn next? Out of work, unable to get through to unemployment, and bills pile up

Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan are jobless and struggling to collect unemployment benefits. Now they're scraping by as best they can.

Dwayne Strunk of Washington Township is scraping by. He was laid off from his job at an auto repair shop on March 23rd. He's now applied for unemployment benefits but has encountered what so many others in Michigan have: error messages.

"It still tells me when I log onto my page that I am eligible to collect unemployment benefits," Strunk said. "I've tried starting first thing in the morning and I've tried it all day long and you just can't talk to anybody."

He feels discouraged and helpless, like so many other millions of people across the country. Job numbers released Friday showed unemployment is at 14.7 percent - the highest since the Great Depression.

Strunk and his wife are barely getting by with that they have and his father helped them out by paying rent this month.

"At my age I don't wanna be asking somebody for help or to borrow some money. It's just not a very good feeling whatsoever," Strunk said. "I've been really disheartened and depressed and it's really discouraging." 

Not only are they out of a check, Strunk says he hasn't received his stimulus check yet either.

He says he feels like the state of Michigan has abandoned him.

"There's nobody listening to me whatsoever except for you right now," he said.

May rent is paid but June is already a concern and that's still three weeks away. He's hoping he and his wife will get their stimulus checks by then but they're not counting on it.

"I'm just trying to juggle what I can with what I have, which isn't much." 

Strunk is planning to call his local state representative next. Experts say that's the best solution right now: ask for constituent services since state representatives have liaisons that can help. 

Despite feeling ignored and forgotten, Strunk says he's doing what he can to stay positive and he knows he isn't the only one.

"I count all the things I do have: my family and my daughters. Because other than that I wouldn't know where to turn."