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After Reaching Out To CBS 2, Monee Couple Finally Gets Stimulus Check After Being Promised Debit Card That Somebody Else Got Hands On

MONEE, Ill. (CBS) -- At CBS 2, we are always Working for Chicago - and nearly every day, we're reminded of the power of a well-placed phone call or email.

A couple in Monee believes it was an email from us that helped them finally get the stimulus money they'd been waiting on since last April. CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reported Friday night on the long and winding story that ended in a check.

Mike and Debbie Brandt of Monee are laughing about it now because they finally can. But they called us about how their wait for their stimulus check in 2021 turned into a months-long job.

"When we first received the letter from the IRS in April, they said that we would be receiving the $5,600 - and if we hadn't received it, to give them a call," said Debbie Brandt.

You'll remember there were issues with that rollout. The Brandts thought theirs was just delayed, but in August they learned they were getting a debit card, not a check, coming from a different financial institution than they originally thought.

"Another bank sent us a debit card," said Debbie, "and that's where the problem lies."

That Bank was Money Network. Debbie called to ask where the card was.

"The lady I talked to said, 'Oh no, you don't have any money left on your card,'" Debbie said. "I said, 'Well, we never received a card!'"

The Brandts say records show somebody found their card somehow last April and spent $1,200 at Luis Vuitton, and also took out $2,000 dollars in cash, among other things.

"She said, 'Well, you spent it,'" Debbie said. "I said, 'No, we didn't.'"

So the couple appealed it last October, sending in a police report, letters, and more - but the Brandts say they were denied. Every month since, they have tried to get what they're owed, spending hours on the phone.

"So we have no idea why it's getting disputed or why it's getting rejected, and it just keeps going," Mike said.

After their latest denial, they called us, and we emailed Money Network. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said they had contacted The Brandts directly with the results of an investigation.

Ten months after it was promised, and a week after we reached out, a check showed up at the couple's door through FedEx.

The Brandts are glad, but worried for others in the same boat, without the time or resources they spent on tracking it down.

"We're fortunate enough to not be in desperate need to have to have had this money, but how many families are out there that are?" Mike said. "And that's our concern."

There is still a lot we don't know about what happened here. How was the debit card stolen? Why did Money Network deny the couple so many times? What changed in the two weeks to get them their money?

After several requests, the bank's spokesperson has not answered our questions.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We'll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

Editor's note: CBS 2 is committed to 'Working For Chicago.' We want to hear from you. Send us tips, ideas or your questions, using this form.


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