ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Stephan Golub never imagined a job application with the Census Bureau would leave him ineligible for unemployment assistance from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for 11 weeks.
Golub a part-time employee with both Universal Studios and Disney World, for 5 and 7 years respectively, applied for a position with the Census Bureau’s s Orange County office in February, just weeks before the pandemic shutdown. He applied for the position to earn extra money but because of COVID-19 the hiring process was frozen until August.
“I was on their [Census Bureau] files to work for them but never did,” Golub said.
Golub presented Census Bureau records that confirm he was deemed ineligible for the job because his residency had changed from Orange to Seminole County.
Golub said he was not optimistic News 6 could make a difference because he had been trying for weeks to get his account corrected by the DEO.
“I get the same answer," he said of the DEO response. "It’s almost as if they are reading off of a cue card.”
News 6 contacted the Department of Economic Opportunity to have his account reviewed and escalated.
The agency had Golub listed as “returned to work” leaving his current unemployment benefits claim of 11 weeks or $1,500 in payments on hold.
Golub said his sister suggested he reach out to News 6 because the station always gets results.
“There’s nowhere to turn to,” Golub said fighting back tears, “The DEO is all I have just to live and I’m barely living with what I have.”
His wait for a financial lifeline ended this week.
Golub reported Thursday morning that a DEO supervisor called him and “walked him through his account step-by-step.” He said the agency assured him his funds would be deposited into his bank account.
A spokesperson with the DEO confirmed Golub will be getting his back pay of benefits “very soon.”
Under the current system once those benefits are exhausted Golub should be eligible to apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, benefits as well.
The time line to update and escalate accounts is based on a case by case basis. The DEO have been working to issue funds as quickly as possible.
If you have an unemployment benefit issue send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org