Her Recession: Single mother describes unemployment, mental health struggles

SPOKANE, Wash. — 4 News Now is diving into how women are feeling during this pandemic. They’ve been laid off at a higher rate than men. One Spokane mom is no different. Courtney Schwind reached out to us and shared Her Recession story.

She has a lot on her plate. Schwind is a single mother of twin girls with compromised immune systems. On top of that, she lost her job and her unemployment benefits will stop the day after Christmas.

“It kinda almost makes me feel like a failure as a mother just because I feel like I’ve done everything that I should have and yet, here we are, struggling,” Schwind said.

Her life hasn’t been easy. Eight years ago, Schwind gave birth to two girls. At first, doctors thought Paytyn and Brinley were conjoined. She went into labor early because of cord compression.

“They were very, very sick babies,” Schwind said. “When they were born she was 1.8 pounds and 1.9 pounds and 12 inches long.”

They both recovered, but still battled immune system issues up until now. Brinley gets pneumonia frequently. Paytyn goes through physical therapy.

Fast forward to March, the college graduate started dealing with her own challenges.

“It was literally the day before their birthday that I got laid off,” she said. “I filed for unemployment and that’s when things took a turn for the worst. I didn’t hear back from them.”

Schwind started to send an e-mail to the Employment Security Department once a week. She called several times a day, filed her weekly claims and kept looking for a job.

In the meantime, Schwind had to borrow money from friends. Her struggle started to hit her mental health.

“I started battling anxiety and depression cause I was like I don’t know what to do and you know, they had school,” Schwind said.

The girls also started going through behavioral issues. Schwind said Paytyn was diagnosed with ADHD a couple weeks ago.

As the months went on, she didn’t hear from ESD until August when she called them on a whim.

“The only thing that was wrong is that they had to verify by identity. That was all that happened,” Schwind said.

In September, Schwind finally got her money and back pay. In a blink of an eye, it was gone. She had to pay back her friends and she paid off her rent because Schwind said she wanted to guarantee a roof of their heads.

The benefits will soon come to an end — sooner than it should be.

“My unemployment runs out on Christmas, and I’m going to be out of work for an additional month because I have to have these surgeries so I’m kind of like, this is where I’m at,” Schwind said. “My last payment will be December 26, so I don’t know why there’s a gap even though it says on the main page March 2021 is when my benefit year expires.”

Though her problems are stacking on top of each other, Schwind knew her mental health was important.

“I just woke up one day and decided, you know, I need to put my mental health first because I can’t be the best mom that I can be you know, if I don’t take care of myself first,” she explained.

Schwind said she’s going to get ahold of ESD to figure out what is happening with her benefits. Her will to fight back stems from Paytyn and Brinley.

“They fought for their place in this world and I’m fighting to keep our place in this world,” she said. “I know we’re all destined for something great.”

And for Christmas this year — Schwind said she just wants a good job.

4 News Now was able to give Schwind some resources such as contact information for the Unemployment Law Project and SNAP.

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