SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -
As the state begins to re-open, unemployment benefits are still a concern for thousands of Floridians as they wait for help from the state and federal government.
More than 1.2 million Floridians have filed for unemployment since March 15.
800,000 have been processed and nearly 500,000 have been paid.
40,000 people have applied for federal help through the pandemic unemployment assistance program, more than 9,500 of which have received benefits.
The Department of Economic Opportunity wasn’t able to give us a clear timeline of when retroactive payments will be paid out in full.
With more than one billion dollars distributed in benefits so far, the DEO says they're committed to getting everyone paid as quickly as possible.
As the state continues to roll out more payments, there are still thousands waiting on benefits.
"Completely helpless, completely helpless,” said Marcelo Damotta, a Floridian who filed for unemployment.
Damotta applied for unemployment in March. His case? Active and pending.
“Sometimes you go to sleep, and just thinking about [the] next morning, I hope something has changed,” said Damotta.
Damotta will likely go back to work soon and hopes his benefits for all the weeks lost will make their way to his bank account.
“They’re going to receive those benefits for the time they were unemployed through when their eligibility runs out. That is a guarantee,” said Florida Department of Management Services Secretary, John Satter who is currently leading the DEO.
The state level benefits are retroactive back to March 9 and federal benefits retroactive to March 29.
Congressman Vern Buchanan says the economy has been devastated by the coronavirus.
He says payments need to be made retroactive because people who lost their jobs shouldn’t be penalized because of an antiquated computer system.
“If you have been paid and you’re owed payments through that retro-activity. The state will go and process that automatically. And that’s the easiest way to change it,” said Florida District 23 Senator, Joe Gruters.
In a statement to ABC 7 the DEO said you can modify your claim filing date BY clicking on the link that says “request to modify claim filing effective date” on floridajobs.org.
“Make sure the date is March 9 or the day you actually lost your job. So the state understands that they have to pay those retroactive benefits. They are trying to get up payments. Obviously, it’s an automated system so once you get the dates all lined up it should be automatic,” said Gruters.
Gruters says if your dates are lined up and you’re still not receiving benefits then you should contact your local state representative.
He says his office wants to go to work for you. You can contact the senators office at 941-378-6309.