Scammers steal Collier County couple’s info to apply for unemployment benefits

Scammers are stealing information to apply for unemployment benefits, and it’s happening in Southwest Florida. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office released a warning Thursday explaining how to avoid these kinds of scams. Meanwhile, a Collier County couple told us they’re getting unemployment checks they never applied for, and they have no clue how it happened. […]

Judge to weigh lawsuit on Florida’s unemployment problems

Nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began tossing people out of work, a circuit judge is again poised to consider a potential class-action lawsuit stemming from major problems in Florida’s unemployment compensation system. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper is scheduled Tuesday to hear arguments about whether he should dismiss the lawsuit filed against […]

Mix of frustration and relief as changes to unemployment programs roll out, questions remain

As the state begins to roll out changes and extensions to unemployment compensation, courtesy of the new stimulus bill, some Floridians worry it won’t be smooth. Community activist Vanessa Brito, who’s been helping decipher and guide people through the unemployment system for months, is preparing for the worst. “I want people to be prepared for […]

DEO says to ignore message saying to file new application by Jan 2

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Thursday people getting messages on CONNECT that tells them to submit a new application by Saturday should ignore that message. DEO says it’s working to fix this issue. It’s still unknown whether claimants will need to file new applications in the future​ to get the added round of CARES […]

Gov. DeSantis extends unemployment waivers until Feb 27

According to the CONNECT website Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to waive the waiting week, work search and work registration requirements for claimants through Feb. 27, 2021. WINK News discovered the change ahead of when this provision would have expired Jan. 2, 2021. We did not see an announcement […]

Hundreds hired to help people navigate Florida unemployment system, agency needs more

Executive Director Dane Eagle of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says he needs more money and more people to fix the unemployment system. We’ve received questions, concerns and suggestions from people about how to make it better, and took them to Eagle. Meanwhile, Patrick Hoffman of Fort Myers has almost given up on the DEO. […]

Unemployment rate rises in September, weeks of benefits expected to go up in 2021

The state released September’s unemployment report Friday. After a steady decline, it looks like the rate went up at 7.6%. That’s 27,000 more people out of work than in August. The new numbers show 770,000 people are jobless in Florida. It comes as the state’s hospitality and tourism industries continue to struggle. “I do want […]

DEO activates Extended Benefits program to provide additional unemployment assistance

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity activated the federal Extended Benefits program Friday to continue to help provide unemployment assistance to Floridians during the pandemic. According to the DEO press release, Extended Benefits is a federal program implemented by the state. Extended Benefits authorizes up to an additional six weeks of benefits to eligible individuals who […]

Unemployed Floridians start to see Lost Wages Assistance payments hit bank accounts

Long-awaited benefits from the federal government, part of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, started to hit bank accounts Tuesday. But we can’t expect them to continue just yet. So far, FEMA has only approved the State of Florida for three payments of $300 to cover the first three weeks of August. We don’t know if the state plans to apply […]

Unemployment call taker warns of longer wait times after state ends contracts

The Department of Economic Opportunity has canceled contracts with two companies that were hired to pick up calls about unemployment claims of Floridians. A woman who still works for one of those companies told us she thinks wait times are going to get worse. DEO spokesperson Paige Landrum told us those companies are AECOM and […]