Josephine Otero said the long 30-week wait for her unemployment benefits forced her into a financial black hole with a lot of bills and no way to pay them.
“Whatever I had in savings is basically gone,” the single mother said. “It’s very hard to support two children and try to survive.”
Otero was furloughed in March 2020 from an accounts receivables project with Orlando-based JBT Aero Tech, a ground support equipment company providing systems for military and commercial use.
“I applied for unemployment and still nothing,” she said. " As of Jan. 12 I have not received one dime.”
Her account with the Department of Economic Opportunity showed she is active and eligible for unemployment benefits of $275 a week dating back to March 28, 2020.
News 6 reviewed her account and found the payments owed were listed as payable until the week ending May 23, 2020.
After that, the weekly payments were listed as $0 hold with no notation or explanation on the DEO Connect site.
News 6’s unofficial review of her records found Otero is owed roughly $18,000 in state and federal benefits spanning 30 weeks.
“Every time I call they say it’s due to the pandemic (the delay), that they’re working on it,” Otero said. “But no results.”
News 6 sent her case to the DEO so the reemployment team could verify our findings.
On Thursday, DEO spokesman John “Trip” Farmer said the account was reviewed this week and the findings were in Otero’s favor.
In an email, Farmer wrote, ”I have some good news for you. I wanted to follow-up with you and let you know that this been resolved.”
Since News 6 started vetting unemployment cases with state lawmakers and the DEO, we have been able to secure more than $550,000 in benefits for families from Orlando to Miami.
The DEO continues to work to update cases as quickly as possible.
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