Election poll volunteer loses Florida unemployment benefits after working for 4 hours

Broward County woman asks News 6 to help her secure $1,200 in benefits

A Broward County private school assistant has been out of work for more than 25 weeks.

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Broward County private school assistant has been out of work for more than 25 weeks.

She said her decision to help her community at the polls on election night cost her eight weeks of unemployment benefits.

Krista (who asked we not use her last name) told News 6 more than $1,200 in jobless benefits had been placed on hold because the Department of Economic Opportunity classified her as “returned to work.”

“I was a volunteer poll worker during the election,” she told News 6, “It’s not like I went back to work and quit a job or something.”

The veteran teaching assistant was collecting PEUC benefits when she started training for election night back in October.

Krista presented a letter from the Broward County election commission to News 6.

The letter confirmed she was never hired.

“I’m returned to work according to them (DEO),” she said, “and they’re not sending me money.”

Paige Landrum the press secretary for the DEO told News 6 she could not discuss the specific case but said it has been addressed.

In an email to News 6, Landrum said:

Each claim must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the department is working diligently to review all claims. Claimants should check their CONNECT inbox regularly to ensure responses to all questions are completed so the Department can determine the claimant’s employment and benefit eligibility status.

According to Landrum in some cases the department may request the claimant to complete a Return to Work Questionnaire outside of CONNECT; this request will be sent via email with a link to a specific website.

With the help of the DEO, Krista received more than $1,200 between Dec 21 and Dec. 28.

She will be eligible to apply for an additional $468 in benefits on Jan. 7.

The DEO will not deem her eligible for benefits from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7 because she was paid about $250 for working on election night. Krista told News 6 she plans to appeal.

If a claimant needs further assistance with their Reemployment Assistance claim, unrelated to a Return to Work issue, they should call 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759).

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

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.