Requests to help pour in for furloughed Disney bartender

Allyssa Brewbaker one of many facing issues with Department of Economic Opportunity

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

ORLANDO, Fla. – Less than 24 hours after Allyssa Brewbaker’s story of stalled unemployment benefits was reported on News 6 and, the furloughed Disney employee received a surge of financial generosity from others wanting to help her.

“I honestly can’t believe the response,” the stunned single mom told News 6 on Friday. “I’m so grateful!”

The story of her three boys, a 3-year old and 2-year old twins, inspired the audience to help her.

Brewbaker, a bartender with the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, is one of the hundreds of furloughed Disney employees placed into the Department of Employment Opportunity files who are still waiting for some financial relief.

After seven weeks of delays, she was told her unemployment file had been corrected and funds would be available Friday, but that never happened.

In an email to News 6, Brewbaker said she called a different number and after 90 minutes on the line she got through.

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 finally spoke to someone who seemed to know what she was doing,” she said. “She said the system was wrong and it seemed like there was a glitch in the system. She sent in whatever work order ticket to get it fixed (and) said it could take up to 72 hours.”

Her story sparked emails from unemployed and furloughed workers, from Disney to the aerospace industry.

The common thread with jobless aid in Florida has been identity issues and a “pending” status that never seems to be updated.

News 6 continues to report the DEO issues to state lawmakers and officials.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis told News 6 the DEO system has been overwhelmed, not only by the demand for benefits but, ironically, the new demand to send benefits checks back.

“You have people trying to inform the system, ‘I don’t need a check anymore,'" Patronis told News 6. “At the same time, the (DEO) is getting phone calls from people asking, ‘Why haven’t I gotten my first check yet?’"

If you have an unemployment issue, you can email the station at

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.