Florida’s unemployed still haven’t been paid. And they don’t think it’s their fault.

Florida’s unemployed still haven’t been paid. And they don’t think it’s their fault.

TALLAHASSEE — There are problems with Florida’s unemployment system. Then there’s Charlene Jackson’s problem with Florida’s unemployment system. In March, the 39-year-old nurse for special needs children lost her job and tried to apply for unemployment for the first time in her life. But she couldn’t finish her application because she couldn’t get into the system: someone fraudulently filed for unemployment under her name. She’s now locked out, unable to reset her login because she can’t answer the fraudster’s security questions. Calls to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s fraud line have been met with recorded messages that the line is busy. She has not collected any unemployment benefits, she said. “I pay my taxes,” Jackson said. “I don’t owe the government anything. And when I need (unemployment), I can’t get it.” Over the past month, the Times/Herald interviewed 40 Floridians who, like Jackson, have struggled to receive benefits during the pandemic. Reporters spent hours on the phone with them, viewed screenshots of their claims and sent their names, phone numbers and claimant ID numbers to the Department of Economic Opportunity to verify if they were eligible. Of the 40 people, half have started to receive payments, department spokeswoman Tiffany Vause said in a Friday statement. The rest are in the “review process” for state or federal benefits, she said. “The 40 claimants you (sent) are just 40 of the more than 16,000 names that were submitted to (the agency),” Vause said. “The team is working diligently to serve Floridians who contact the agency through the proper channels.” The Times/Herald asked the state to review the status of the claimants to verify a claim made by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month. During a May 15 news conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis said that the state follows up with claimants, quoted […]

Original Post www.tampabay.com

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