Former marine waits 4 months for Florida unemployment benefits

Former Marine turns to News 6 after DEO denies unemployment benefits

David Finley used the technology skills he developed over six years in the Marines to secure work with the space program for 11 and a half years and then in the private sector over the following decade.

Despite collecting a paper trail from his former employers, he has been unable to secure unemployment benefits.

The past year and a half he was working in Afghanistan with Virginia-based MAG Aerospace but when the coronavirus pandemic hit everything changed.

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“The contract I was on was canceled by the Army,” Finley said. “So everybody on that contract was laid off.”

That sudden shut down in October 2020 left the Orlando resident and his wife in a financial struggle to make ends meet.

Finley said the cost of Cobra health benefits --$1,500 a month-- has been depleting their savings.

“With the uncertainty with the coronavirus and the government changeover with contracts overseas, it’s really hard to find a job right now,” Finley said.

Finley said he turned to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for jobless benefits but was deemed ineligible despite producing pay stubs from his last employer.

“It’s been extremely frustrating, I’ve given them everything,” Finley said. “I’ve had to go to previous companies and get the information they wanted and I faxed it to them.”

The fax never made it to the DEO so Finley emailed his records to the agency’s Tallahassee office .

“I have been waiting since November,” he said. “The last denial that I got was showing zero (salary) for that company.”

News 6 investigated his ineligible status and found the DEO needed Finley’s W-2 form to confirm the hours he worked for MAG Technology.

Finley said he was in the process of moving and was unable to find the W-2 but felt the other documentation he provided would be enough to prove his work history and eligibility.

Finley was able to find his W-2 and presented it to News 6.

The information was sent to the DEO on Monday and by Wednesday afternoon Finley was able to access the first four weeks of his unemployment benefits.

In an email to News 6, DEO spokesperson Trip Farmer wrote, “I have some good news for you. I wanted to follow-up with you and let you know that this been resolved.”

He went on to say, “Please let us know if the claimant is experiencing any other issues.”

News 6 spoke to Finley by phone this week and confirmed a DEO representative had adjusted his account to allow benefits to be deposited into his account.

“Thank you,” Finley said. “I am very grateful.”

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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.