Clerical error causes Florida woman to wait on weeks of unemployment benefits

Orlando hair stylist says DEO botched her records leaving her flat broke

ORLANDO, Fla. – Charletha Cantrell applied for and received state and federal unemployment benefits for one week in May and then because of what appears to be a clerical error by the Department of Employment Opportunity went from a status of eligible, to ineligible to overpaid.

“Now I owe an overpayment for something I am eligible for,” Cantrell told News 6. “I’m tired and I’m drowning in bills and I need help.”

Cantrell and her two children a 9-year old daughter and 4 -year old son have been depending on her retired father’s monthly social security check to cover the bills.

“I’m taking care of four people off of an income of $1 thousand a month,” a frustrated Cantrell said. “That’s not including rent, that’s not including lights.”

The self-employed hairstylist was furloughed in March and is still waiting to start work again.

A DEO account specialist reset her account to her original benefits claim date of March 22nd triggering a shift in her recorded work history from the last three months of 2019 to the last three months of 2018.

That line change first discovered by News 6 may have triggered an automatic change in her status.

“Somehow my claims went from eligible to ineligible,” she said.

Cantrell said she is owed 8-weeks from the state unemployment system lost in her paper chase for benefits.

She recently completed a fourth application for unemployment benefits and found her account was active but required documents she had already filed weeks ago.

“I can’t get anywhere, I can’t get answers and I can’t get any help,” the struggling single mom said. “I’m literally stuck.”

News 6 contacted her state representatives in Broward County to escalate her application for jobless benefits.

Rep Bobby DuBose and State senator Perry Thurston serve District 94 and District 33 respectively.

If you would like to help Charletha and her family or you have an unemployment issue email us:

To find your Florida representative use this link:

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.