News 6 helps unemployed military veteran claim jobless benefits

Former Marine waited 10 months for DEO to issue back unemployment funds

A retired Central Florida Marine has finally been able to claim a major portion of his state and federal benefits after News 6 and the Department of Economic Opportunity worked to update an unemployment account on hold for 10 months.

Dave Brulotte served in the Marines as crew chief of an amphibious assault vehicle between 1988 and 1991.

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He told News 6 he was injured in January 1991 and held various jobs through the years from working at a nuclear plant to serving as a cameraman for major concerts including piano and vocalist legend Billy Joel.

Brulotte lost a construction job in March 2020 because of COVID-19.

Much to his surprise, he said he was unable to get unemployment benefits approved because of a denial for benefits dating back to 2008.

“Luckily I have a little disability from the VA but I’m struggling.” he said. ”I don’t have a vehicle anymore. Life has been turned upside down.”

When the DEO discovered the mix up, Brulotte said a Tallahassee representative assured him the account would be updated, but he said it never happened.

“I haven’t seen any back-pay,” a frustrated Brulotte told News 6 from his home. ” I have called (the DEO), I don’t know, countless times.”

Brulotte has been receiving $125 in weekly benefits but he never received the federal benefits to which he was entitled.

News 6 contacted the DEO’s outgoing press scretary Paige Landrum, who was able to get Brulotte’s account updated in 24 hours.

On Saturday, Brulotte told News 6 his bank account had a $5,000 deposit from the DEO just in time for his 51st birthday.

“That’s why I called you,” a jubilant Brulotte said. “You were my last hope .”

The DEO is working to update cases as quickly as possible.

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