Unemployment system ‘glitch’ costs Floridians thousands in payments

Department of Economic Opportunity says it’s identified the issue and is correcting the error

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida’s unemployment system is once again in hot water after thousands of dollars were not deposited into people’s accounts because of what the Department of Economic Opportunity called “technical issues.”

The DEO said it found two “technology concerns” that prevented people from getting their Federal Pandemic Unemployment compensation over the last few weeks.

That’s $600 extra a week that unexpectedly stopped for some families that depend on that money.

The Department of Economic Opportunity explained what went wrong:

“Individuals who requested that their claims be backdated were not included in recent payment files for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments…. The department has identified these individuals and should have them paid their $600 federal payment within 5 business days.”

That technical problem cost Daphne Glenn’s family $1,800.

Glenn, a mother of two, was laid off in March due to COVID-19 and still hasn’t received all of the 10 weeks of assistance she says she’s owed.

“I have a job to get up every day at 7:25 to make that phone call at 7:30 [to Florida’s unemployment line].”

She said the call is usually not helpful. She’s not alone in feeling that way.

Glenn said the federal money just stopped out of nowhere after May 19 and no one told her what happened.

“If it was just me and my husband, we could maintain -- we would be OK. We could maintain. It’s not just us. If it wasn’t for the school being closed with the food assistance,” Glenn said. “It’s just amazing. If you could put them in our shoes for a week, that system would be fixed.”

The DEO said if you were affected by the technical error, there is nothing to do but wait. Again, they said that money should show up in the next five business days and should include the missed payments.

At the Capitol, a handful of people protested the overall lack of available benefits Wednesday morning.

Organizer Judy Tanzosch said she’s seen a lot of complaints about checks stopping.

“In the various groups on Facebook, a lot of people complaining in May their Federal payments just stopped,” said Tanzosch.

Among the protestors was a prominent Tallahassee lawyer.

Fred Harris and his family own a restaurant in nearby Quincy.

When it closed, the family thought its employees wouldn’t have any trouble getting benefits.

“We pay unemployment premiums, so we felt like they would be taken care of, but a lot of our employees have been unable to access the unemployment benefits,” said Harris.

The state processed its two millionth jobless claim on Sunday, disqualifying about one in three applicants.

Anyone unemployed on March 29 can receive the additional $600 federal payment through the week of July 31.

About the Authors: