‘Incarceration status’ leaves single mom without unemployment benefits for 7 weeks

DEO works with News 6 to correct Connect account issue

BAY COUNTY, Fla. – Victoria Thomas is the first to admit she was driving on a suspended driver license in 2018 but she cannot explain why that event prompted the Department of Economic Opportunity to suspend her state unemployment benefits.

“They said that I had to prove that I wasn’t in jail as of the moment,” the frustrated single mom told News 6. “I couldn’t believe it, I was like, ‘Where is this coming from?’”

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Thomas said she was jailed overnight in 2018 but was released the following day. Bay County records confirm she paid the fine and has not been in any trouble with the law since.

Thomas is one of dozens of Florida residents reporting what appears to be a glitch in the DEO records system that lists unemployed men and women currently behind bars.

A DEO spokesperson said the number of Florida residents impacted by the incarceration issue changes day by day.

For Thomas and her son it was a financial black hole that left them just days away from being evicted from their come.

“I don’t have any income but unemployment,” Thomas said. “When I go on where my weeks are listed it (reads) hold , hold , hold.”

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