Furloughed Disney employee, single mother says she hasn’t received benefits payment since April

Single mom waiting for unemployment benefits since April 19

ORLANDO, Fla. – Alyssa Brewbaker is a furloughed bartender with Disney’s Polynesian resort and is now down to her last $16 and a promise from the Department of Employment Opportunity that her wait for financial relief could be over by Friday.

“I’m praying it happens," Brewbaker told News 6 this week. "But I don’t think it will.”

Her prediction is based on the DEO’s rejection of her unemployment benefits, which are listed as 'disqualified’ since she first applied for benefits on April 19.

“You don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong,” the frustrated single mom said. “And the DEO doesn’t know half the time.”

Brewbaker is raising three boys, a 3-year-old and 2-year old twins; she’s now worried about where the money to support them will come from.

Photo courtesy Alyssa Brewbaker
Photo courtesy Alyssa Brewbaker (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

She said her ex-husband takes the boys three days a week so she can focus on finding a job to pay the bills.

“Thank God for food stamps,” she said. “That’s the only way I can provide food on the table.”

Her attempt as a delivery driver for UberEats ended when her car broke down.

“It didn’t go well at all,” she said. “Just one thing after another.”

Brewbaker said she is still waiting for a call back from Disney and, like so many of the estimated 70 thousand employees, she is unsure of what the “new normal” will look like in terms of tourism and weekly hours.

“I’ve received two federal payments In May and I have not received anything since,” she told News 6. “DEO said three days ago they issued me money and if I don’t have it by Friday to give them a call back.”

Brewbaker said an understanding real estate agent has allowed her to delay paying the rent on her four-bedroom home for nearly three months.

“When I do go back to work and when I do have to pay the rent, it’s all piling up,” she said. “There’s no way I’m going to be able to catch up to that.”

Mark Hamrick, a senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com, said the latest unemployment claims show a steady decline but the 1.9 million new claims reflect a real demand for benefits that have tapped systems from Florida to California.

“We’re still catching up," Hamrick told News 6. “This system wasn’t set-up for this wave of unemployment to really hit.”

Brewbaker said she called the same DEO number she called earlier in the week and was told she “had the wrong number.”

“I need diapers, I need baby wipes,” she said. “My oldest is three years old and is still potty training. My twins will be two in July and they’re still in diapers."

If you would like to help Brewbaker and her sons, or if you have an unemployment issue email Makeendsmeet@wkmg.com.

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