COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado Springs woman is calling out a state program that's supposed to help disabled Coloradans find employment and pay their wages.
After Mimi Vigil waited months for the state to pay her for the hours she worked, she reached out to News 5 Investigates for help getting her money.
Vigil took part in the state's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation program which falls under the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
Unfortunately, this is the same state agency that has been plagued with problems for nearly a year with unemployment claims and massive fraud.
"I have severe scoliosis and that qualified me to be part of this (DVR) program," Vigil said.
Here's how the Division of Vocational Rehab (DVR) employment program works:
The state partners with various employers across Colorado to help people with disabilities find work.
Employers receive monetary incentives for their participation and the State pays the employee's wages (up to 160 hours in Vigil's case).
The end goal is that these employees will either be hired on full-time, or use their on-the-job training and skills to secure a stable career.
Vigil says she wanted a job where she could work from home and eventually got matched with a marketing company in Colorado Springs.
Her job was to answer phones and set up appointments.
Vigil says her job duties began on Dec. 7, 2020.
"I did that job 4-5 hours a day and expected to get paid. To this day, I have nothing," Vigil said when News 5 met with her in-person earlier this month.
Vigil provided News 5 Investigates with copies of the time cards she submitted to the State for payment.
She says weeks went by, and then months---but no money came.
"I don't have any payment," she said. "There's nothing. Why? Why am I not getting paid from the State of Colorado?"
Our research found that money is supposed to arrive via a "Reliacard" in the mail.
"No one told me that (initially)," Vigil said. "I've never seen a Reliacard in my life."
News 5 reviewed internal emails from the Department of Labor and Employment which revealed multiple issues with getting Vigil her money.
Records show her card was ordered Jan. 21.
A month later, no card had arrived yet.
A new card was eventually ordered on Feb. 22.
However, emails show that card reportedly didn't get mailed out until March 2.
"This is way past the timeline given for the client to receive her new card," one state employee had written in an email obtained by News 5.
Several days had passed and Vigil still didn't have her money so she reached out to News 5 for assistance.
"I've called the Governor's Office at least 30-40 times," she said. "I've had no response from them. I've called Doug Lamborn's office and heard nothing from them. I've had no help from anybody that I was hoping could do something. A friend mentioned to call KOAA News 5 because you have an investigative team that may take this on. I was very surprised when you called me back."
News 5 reached out to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to find out what was going on with Vigil's case.
Although they did not address our specific questions, we do know that Vigil received her money 24 hours later.
Still, Vigil is frustrated that bills continued to rack up as she waited months for her cash.
Do you have a problem or issue you'd like our News 5 Investigates team to look into? Email us: News5Investigates@KOAA.com
For more information on the state's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation program, click here.