Unemployed restaurant server approved 8 times for DEO benefits has to apply again

Leesburg mom says, ‘They keep approving me and approving me’

LEESBURG, Fla. – Lauren Taylor may be the unofficial record holder for approved benefits by the Department of Economic Opportunity with eight consecutive approval notices in eight weeks.

The latest notice arrived in the mail on Monday with the exact message she had seen seven times before: Approved for pandemic unemployment assistance.

“It’s just one glitch after the other,” Taylor said. “I fill out that application (for PUA) as soon as I log out, it’s just like it never happened.”

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Taylor was furloughed from the Red Lobster restaurant In Leesburg in March with hopes of being rehired in May. Now it appears the job will be delayed even longer.

"I try to stay positive for my son and my family. We’re doing the best that we can. It’s extremely frustrating, you really do lose sleep over it,” she said.

Her 5-year-old son Steven is staying with her mother-in-law as she sorts out what has become a benefits puzzle.

Taylor told News 6 the DEO application process has been a series of approvals and dead ends, always ending with a prompt to apply again.

“They keep approving me and approving me,” she said. “I’m losing hope and I know there are a lot of people in the same boat with me.”

News 6 viewers from across the state have complained that the delays for benefits is explained by DEO employees as a major backlog of unemployment accounts.

Although the DEO policy bans discussion of specific accounts, a spokesperson confirmed Taylor’s account has been sent to the “Reemployment Assistance team to take a further look into.”

DEO press secretary Paige Landrum said the confusion may be linked to Taylor’s multiple applications.

“If someone applies multiple times, they may receive multiple determinations,” she wrote. "In addition, the Department sent out Quarter Change information for claimants who may have been impacted from the Quarter Change earlier this month. "

The department has developed a guide and video to help claimants understand their payment status in Connect. If a claimant has additional questions about what a payment was for in their Connect account, they should call the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY.

If you have an unemployment issue email : makeendsmeet@wkmg.com

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