The focus for thousands of Floridians right now is if and when they'll get unemployment benefits.
This week 40.3% of the overall claims processed by the Department of Economic Opportunity were deemed ineligible.
Many of you have called, emailed and reached out to us over social media about this. We spoke to several people on Tuesday over the phone and they tell ABC 7 they feel hopeless because after weeks of waiting on benefits they were denied. Many are unsure why.
"You just feel like you're abandoned," said Englewood resident Barbara Boyle.
She’s one of the many who have been waiting for weeks to find out their unemployment application wasn’t approved.
"It's not just me, there are so many of us that are going through the same scenario. It's just heartbreaking," said Boyle.
The latest numbers from the DEO database show 267,912 Floridians were deemed ineligible of the 664,158 claims processed.
Representatives with the DEO tell ABC 7 the reason some claims were denied for several reasons including wage base period issues, lack of wage history, multiple claims in one year, separation circumstances or incomplete applications.
"I'm not very happy. I'm frustrated.. I'm upset. And I'm just very defeated I guess is the best word. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do. Where I'm supposed to go. Who I'm supposed to talk to because everybody said we should've gotten approved and yet 40-percent of us got denied," said Bradenton resident Shannon Zyjewski.
When we kept asking the DEO WHY some people who met qualifications received this message we didn’t get a direct answer.
If you filed before April 5 you may need to file another application.
“Many individuals who filed a claim in the first quarter of the year (prior to April 5), because of state law (Section 443.036(10) they will need to file a new state Reemployment Assistance application for the second quarter of the year. They should go to FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” and this will assist them,” said DEO press secretary Paige Landrum.
You can also appeal your ineligible status. Information on how to do that here.
Information chart on the COVID-19 reemployment assistance benefits can be accessed here.
Have questions for the DEO? This is the best number to reach them: 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759).
We also asked Congressman Vern Buchanan what he thought about his constituents frustration with the unemployment benefit system. This is that statement we received:
“Thousands of hardworking Floridians in my district and across the state are facing economic hardships as a result of the coronavirus. It is simply unacceptable that the state’s problem-plagued unemployment system is keeping Floridians from getting their money in a timely manner,” said Congressman Vern Buchanan. “I’m pleased to see the state make unemployment benefits retroactive as I called for earlier this month, but people need this money now. I realize that traffic is heavy, but there is no excuse at this late date for the system to be overwhelmed. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has to do a better job.”