ORLANDO, Fla. – The names of more than 1,000 men and women who have been waiting for state unemployment benefits since March were hand delivered to the governor’s office in an office-style cardboard box Monday following the governor’s impromptu request to “see the names” of applicants who complained of not receiving jobless benefits.
Sen. Linda Stewart of Orlando was the first to collect names of constituents, gathering roughly 500 for the Department of Economic Opportunity.
“If they are missing information, the DEO should be calling them and filling it out,” a fired up Stewart told News 6 Monday, “There’s people out there that are really not paid.”
More than 200 News 6 viewers contacted the station via email by Monday evening complaining that the system was awkward at best.
“We’ve been trying to live since March 15 on my pitiful Social Security check," Michelle Stone said.
The 70-year-old former documentation specialist blasted the DEO after her son Daniel’s unemployment application listed a mysterious company in another state as his employer.
“They transposed numbers and put him down for a company he’s never heard of," she said Monday. “He sure doesn’t work for whoever they typed in.”
Daniel Stone has worked for Applebee’s since 2015 and produced a stack of payroll records to prove it.
Stone said she contacted News 6 on behalf of most of the staff who are all waiting for their benefits.
“Right there, in one little restaurant, you see exactly what’s going on with the unemployment system,” she said.
State senate minority leader Sen. Audrey Gibson of Duval County worked tirelessly to put spread sheets together with names and numbers.
“Many in our state work paycheck to paycheck," Gibson said. 'We simply want to amplify their voices to pay claims now.”