Tami Crosbie spent the last 5 years as a cancer radiation specialist with the Miami Cancer Center but when her payroll tax history was reviewed by Florida’s Department of Employment Opportunity they determined she was ineligible for unemployment benefits because it had no record she ever worked.
“I don’t believe that it (the DEO website) has ever worked," she said. “Even when I logged in this morning it kicked me out about 4 times.”
Crosbie, a single mom with a daughter in high school and two sons preparing to go into the military, said she has called a list of companies to ask them for a Pandemic extension as she waits for jobless benefits and a call back to her job.
On March 13, Crosbie was exposed to two patients infected with the Coronavirus forcing her to go into 14-day quarantine.
On March 29, she was told not to report to work because the center was not taking new patients.
“They don’t know when I’ll be coming back,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get travel therapy jobs. If there are no patients there’s no work.”
Crosbie’s story has been repeated by thousands of unemployed workers in Florida frustrated by the unemployment system’s now-infamous delays and glitches.
State Sen. Linda Stewart (D -Orlando) traveled to Tallahassee Thursday to get a personal look behind the scenes of the DEO offices.
Stewart said the state needs more staff on computers not telephones.
“That’s why I rode to Tallahassee with names of 500 or more," she said, referring to people who have asked her for help. “People struggling 8-weeks, 9-weeks out of work, not a word"
Stewart joined a growing number of Florida Democrats who want the Gov. Ron DeSantis to pay the unemployment benefits now and review the applications later.
“I think the Governor has a great responsibility here," Stewart said. “He needs to give the DEO additional money to rectify all these applications.”
During a press conference in Jacksonville Friday DeSantis pushed back on the notion that the system was still failing.
After being asked about people who are in limbo after being denied or haven’t heard anything for weeks the governor asked for a list.
“Give me the names," DeSantis told reporters. ”DEO goes through this and 9 times out of 10, the applications are incomplete."
The governor argued that “99.9% of the folks are paid if they complete applications.”
Stewart said the DEO found the best time to go on the website is between 2:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m.
If you want to help Crosbie and her family or you have an unemployment story to share send an email to Mike Holfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and phone number.