‘I have not gotten one payment:’ Single mom waiting 6 months for unemployment benefits

$6,700 never released from DEO Connect account

A single mom facing divorce and mounting bills is in the middle of six-month stalemate with the Department of Economic Opportunity to receive $6,700 in back unemployment benefits.

Jada Jordan, a physical therapist assistant, told News 6 she lost her job in July 2020 but was deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits until October 2020 because her salary did not meet the minimum earned in the previous quarter.

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When she reapplied for benefits in the fall, she said her unemployment account indicated she was eligible for $138 per week.

“I have not gotten one payment,” a frustrated Jordan said. “Every time I claim my weeks, it says disqualified.”

Jordan said legal troubles with her ex-husband have compounded her life as she juggles time between the needs of her 6-year-old daughter and finding a job that allows her to work and still be a parent.

She lost her job with Jacksonville Stretching Inc. after the once thriving small business was forced to cut hours.

By July 2020, clients afraid of contracting COVID-19 just stopped coming, according to Jordan, and that forced the company to go out of business.

Even though her DEO account status shows it is active-eligible, Jordan has never received the benefits to which she is entitled.

“Every time I claim my weeks, it says disqualified,” Jordan said, “Even though monetarily I’m good.”

Her DEO Connect account shows her account is active-eligible and a review of her records by News 6 confirms she is eligible for $6,700 in benefits dating back to Oct.11, 2020.

News 6 presented Jordan’s unemployment documents to the DEO office in Tallahassee this week.

DEO spokesman John “Trip” Farmer wrote, “We will share with the Reemployment Assistance team.”

In a new development, the DEO said it is planning a shutdown of the Connect system to accommodate pandemic unemployment assistance benefits made available through the American Rescue plan of 2021.

In a statement, the agency said, “CONNECT may be unavailable to claimants either Friday, March 26, or Monday, March 29, to provide additional weeks for PUA claimants. The Department will communicate plans as they become available, but the Department recommends claimants take any needed action in CONNECT, such as requesting benefit payments, prior to the system’s potential unavailability. "

The DEO clarified that the system will closed Friday and will reopen Monday morning.

If you miss the deadline to request your benefit payments on Friday or Monday, you will have the opportunity to request your benefit payments when the system becomes available.

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

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