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Florida unemployment system flip flop leaves medical assistant without benefits but coworkers receive payments

Her status went from pending to ineligible on DEO CONNECT website

Two months after being furloughed from her position with a mobile ultrasound service Meagan Johnson, a veteran medical assistant, said she still has no unemployment benefits from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“It’s messed up,” Johnson said. “My bank account is overdrawn. I have bills, I keep calling trying to get them postponed.”

Johnson has worked for Life Line Screening for 7 years. On March 29 she was furloughed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Her status on the Department of Employment Opportunity’s website CONNECT went from pending to ineligible that despite being employed with the Jacksonville mobile team since June 2019.

“The day it turned ineligible was the day the rest of my co-workers got paid," she said.

Johnson expects to return to work on a limited basis starting June 1 but with less hours and pay she said facing the bills on negotiated deferred payments will be tough.

“Yeah, I’m probably going to be chasing bills for a long time," she said.

Nancy Hecht a veteran certified financial planner said this will be the new normal for many including deferred payments and discounted bills to meet creditor and consumer needs.

“You want to call your creditors and start with your essentials," Hecht said. "Power ,water, mortgage rent and car payment.”

Hecht said this will be a new experience for a workforce that has never experienced unemployment before.

“I think a lot of people will need to do it because creditors would prefer people pay for a longer period of time versus just defaulting on the bills," she said.

If you would like to help Meagan Johnson or you have an unemployment issue to share email News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld mholfeld@wkmg.com.


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