I have recently received some criticism from concerned citizens voicing the opinion I should be receiving Pandemic Assistance from someplace other than Montana. I am happy to engage in this debate with anyone who approaches me respectfully, and like an adult. Much like the rest of the world, My family was completely blindsided by a global pandemic. Differentiating us from much of the world, we were entering Tee’s third trimester of our first pregnancy just as the world began to fall apart. While most Montanans sat at home watching the turmoil unfold from the comforts of their own homes, my family was adapting real-time to ever-evolving international travel restrictions revolving around a global health pandemic, the magnitude of which we had never seen. I stand by my decision to keep my family out of harm’s way of a deadly virus the world knew nothing about. For those of you who believe my family should be receiving Pandemic Assistance from our current location, I want to assure you, as Americans, there is not now, nor has there ever been any Pandemic Assistance available to us here. If you believe we shouldn’t be receiving benefits from the State of Montana because they are Montana State benefits, I want to assure you we would have used any program the Federal Government put in place to distribute funds from the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan. If you are still questioning my eligibility for Pandemic Assistance Benefits as a Montanan, I want to assure you the only reason my residency eligibility is in question is that I placed the importance of my family’s health above all else. So, for those who believe my family should be getting our Pandemic Assistance elsewhere, I have to politely disagree.
If you believe my family should only be receiving Pandemic Assistance from our current location, I need to reiterate, there is only Pandemic Assistance available here for natural residents. As an American family, the available Pandemic Assistance has never been accessible to us. The first installment came immediately before the country-wide quarantine. Local officials randomly appeared and began handing out burlap sacks of food and boxes of live chickens. Tee and I watched as residents spread the information by word-of-mouth and literal “bread lines” began to form in front of our apartment. We were not eligible for this delivery or any subsequent distributions since. We could only watch. Afterwards, rent and utility vouchers became available to our family, however, we never accepted them because we received funding from the CARES Act and we were able to pay our bills at the time. We are thankful we were lucky enough to have funds available to us so we could maintain our payments throughout the pandemic. Families who were not so lucky were told they would have until April of 2022 to come current on their accounts. This turned out not to be true, and local authorities have already begun collecting debts from expat families.
If you believe our physical location delegitimizes our right to Pandemic Assistance because it was distributed by the State of Montana, I need to remind you over 80% of the Pandemic Assistance we received came from the Federal Government. We were never looking to collect unemployment from the State of Montana. The Federal Government chose to use unemployment systems already in place for each state to distribute Federal Pandemic Assistance. This decision by the Federal Government left me with no choice but to file for Federal Pandemic Assistance through my resident state of Montana. I checked their box stating we were physically in Montana ONLY because there was no box available for us to receive only the Federal Pandemic Assistance. It was all or nothing for my family and I chose to access our Federal Pandemic Assistance the only way I could. The CARES Act was hastily written into law because our politicians knew they needed to deliver necessary funds to American families left vulnerable by an unprecedented pandemic. Of course, the writing of the CARES Act was not perfect. Now, the heartless PUA Team is attempting to use the imperfections of the CARES Act to extort Federal Pandemic Assistance from an American family in the name of The State of Montana. If the disastrous PUA Team had initially requested my family pay back the State-sponsored portion of our Pandemic Assistance, I would have conceded. With access to our much-needed Federal Pandemic Assistance, repayment of the State’s 20% wouldn’t sound so outlandish. However, the instant the half-assed PUA Team demanded full repayment of all State and Federal funds, plus denied all eligibility for Pandemic Assistance completely blocking my family from receiving any Federal assistance, I knew I was being shook-down by a corrupt and illegitimate Agency of the State. The Federal Government knew American families needed assistance through this pandemic. The PUA Team is now using that need for help against us in an attempt to extort money from my family. Against nonsense such as this, I will always stand strong and fight back.
For anyone who still believes my family should be disqualified from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance over residency concerns, I want to promise you the nonsensical PUA Team is the only government agency to ever question my Montana state residency. I consider this nothing more than a tactic used in their attempt to extort Federal funding from my family. The ridiculous PUA Team found a statute in the CARES Act disqualifying my family from Pandemic Assistance if I am not a state resident. Now, they are using my decision to keep my family out of harm’s way, and our current lack of a physical presence to justify their blatantly un-American attacks against my family. If I had chosen the comforts of home over our health and the safety of our unborn child, the same hypocritical PUA Team would happily be paying us full benefits until Montana ends their involvement in the Federal program on June 27th. If I was willing to risk absolutely everything for the luxury of watching the virus circle the globe through a television from my living room, the worthless PUA Team would’ve never once questioned my residency as long as Tee and I sat on the couch like good little children throughout the entirety of the pandemic. The oppressive PUA Team knows my Montana State residency is not in question. I have worked internationally for the majority of my adult life, my state residency has changed twice in that time. In 2010 I purchased a condo and changed my state residency to Washington. In 2014 I did the same in Colorado before returning my state residency to Montana in 2016/2017 when I was forced to sell my condo. Regardless of these facts, the heartless PUA Team now wants to exploit my work abroad in their attempt to extort Federal funding from my family. Obviously, I have no intentions of letting this bureaucratic PUA Team achieve its goal.
Given the nature of the negative responses I have received so far, I can say I understand. Obviously, I disagree with their opinion, but I also know human nature will lead to negative public opinions being vocalized long before any positive words are spoken. I will not be hindered by negative opinions. I refuse to let State Government ostracize my family by labeling us criminals and shackling us with government-imposed debt. These acts committed by the tyrannical PUA Team need to be addressed as the atrocities they are. State-sponsored attacks against American families violate the core fundamentals of American society. In the words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death”! The dysfunctional PUA Team’s disenfranchisement of my family borders on deprivation of rights under color of law. As a Montana National Guardsman, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will not allow the treasonous PUA Team’s actions to go unaccounted for. I will expose their evil deeds by telling my family’s story, and I will never quit telling our story until the corrupt PUA Team are held publicly accountable for their actions. So, until this unconscionable team decides to do what’s right as Americans and Montanans, I will continue to fight for my family. Our voice will not be silenced. Our story will be told. We will stand strong in our fight against out-of-control government bureaucracy.