Woman waiting on unemployment benefits says she’s forced to apply for high interest credit cards to pay utilities

DEO ‘returned to work’ status leaves her without benefits

Shanea Brown thought she had finally connected with the right person at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to correct her work status in September but just days away from Thanksgiving she is still waiting for unemployment benefits.

“I have not received benefits since Aug. 18,” Brown said, adding that “was the last time we received anything.”

Brown’s fiancé is in prison and with a 6-year old daughter attending at home classes, finding a work at home job has been difficult.

“If something doesn’t happen in the next week or two I don’t know what we are going to be able to do, “she said.

Brown had just completed training as a customer representative for Apple when she was advised having anyone at home while working with customers online was a violation of the company’s security protocol.

An Apple employee accidentally submitted an update in June that stated Brown had been rehired.

According to Brown, that triggered the “returned to work” status with the DEO that stopped her weekly benefits.

“I don’t know how I’m going to pay my light bill right now,” she said. “I’ve had to resort to apply for credit cards and for the grace of God I was approved for two.”

Despite her bad credit Brown was approved for two credit cards each with a credit line of $300 and an interest rate of 29.99%

She broke down as she talked about the $75 fee charged to each card that she already tapped out to cover lights, water and the internet.

Brown was one of 50,000 residents contacted by the DEO last week to fill out a questionnaire to review about return to work issues.

Brown filled out the form and called for an update but she said it was not encouraging.

“They said they were just being briefed on the forms and that it did not mean your account would be reviewed right away,” she said. “It was just a formality.”

The Make Ends Meet account designated by viewers for struggling families issued financial gifts to cover Brown’s credit card debt of $600.

“You don’t know what this means,” a tearful Brown said. Thank you.”

If you would like to help a family or you have an unemployment issue email: makeendsmeet@wkmg.com

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