In the war against fraudulent unemployment claims the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity may be leaving eligible Florida families on indefinite hold.
This week the DEO confirmed to News 6 that it will soon “fully integrate” the ID.me verification process into the agency’s Connect system.
The DEO partnered with the technology company in 2020 to keep Floridian’s identities secure from fraudulent activity.
DEO spokesperson Emilie Oglesby said the department has identified “an increase in filed claims leading to new measures to protect resident’s from identity theft.”
That security protocol has created a financial nightmare for Camilla Catala Milan, a single mom with three children and no way to access her account.
“I’m completely locked out,” Milan said. “They said they cannot verify my identity and that’s strange.”
Milan worked as a driver for Jacksonville based zTrip, a shuttle service that provides transportation to and from Orlando area hotels and Orlando International Airport.
She lost the job in April because of the coronavirus pandemic and filed for unemployment benefits on May 20, 2020.
Her DEO account was first listed as pending and for the last month she has been locked out of her account.
“They said that I had to receive an email (from the DEO) that would send me to that website, and I would be able to upload more documents,” she explained.
Milan said she never received the code to upload the documents.
Because her children suffer from Asthma she is reluctant to work in public and risk exposure to COVID-19 .
“I have been searching for work,” Milan said. “But I cannot put myself at risk out there for a minimum wage job. I’m risking my life and my kids’ lives by going out there.”
Milan said her mother has been paying the rent as she waits for her benefits to be released.
She said she did take a job with a big box company but left because she did not feel proper safety protocols were being used to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I don’t know what to think at this point because I have given everything they (DEO) wanted in a timely manner,” she said. ”I really need this.”
News 6 sent her identification and documents to the DEO office in Tallahassee last week.
The DEO is reviewing Milan’s account .
If you need to update your identity to apply for benefits go to: ID.me.
If you have an unemployment issue you want News 6 to investigate email: firstname.lastname@example.org