DEO claims unemployment benefits paid, but some still in limbo

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is requesting an official investigation into the state’s unemployment system after countless problems have left people struggling during the pandemic.

Fried said the state has spent 110 million in taxpayer dollars dealing with just some of the unemployment system’s failures.

So many of you have reached out to WINK News, saying you need the system to work so you can pay your rent and other bills, and when the check doesn’t come, getting in touch with the state is next to impossible.

Taylor McFarland is fed up with false promises.

“When most of Florida is still struggling, and you’re putting out these false hopes that things are getting taken care of and they’re not… it’s just frustrating,” she said.

McFarland has been waiting seven weeks for something, anything, from the Department of Economic Opportunity.

She got word two weeks ago that she’s eligible for benefits, but her account says she’s both active and inactive at the same time – and she can’t find out why.

“The robot pretty much told me I had an issue with my account, it’s showing inactive and that I need to re-open my account, but it didn’t tell me how.”

When she finally got a real person on the phone, “she doesn’t know what to do, she reached out to her supervisor. And her supervisor said it’s a glitch in the system, and that I’m not the only person that had this issue, she’s had many people call in with this issue, and they don’t really know what to tell the people.”

The DEO’s dashboard on Monday said that 100 percent of eligible claimants have been paid.

“I think that’s a lie, because I’m somebody who is showing eligible, and I haven’t gotten a payment, and I applied on March 15. And it’s still an issue,” McFarland said.

She fears the issue puts her future in jeopardy.

“I’m hoping I get unemployment within the next month because it’s going to be bad if I don’t.”

Another major complaint? Some of you who have received payments are saying you got one check weeks ago and nothing since.

WINK News has reached out to the DEO for answers but they have yet to reply.

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

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