John Wilkerson, 37, served in the U.S. Army for 15 years but when he turned to his government for state and federal unemployment benefits a typo in the Department of Economic Opportunity system let him down.
“I can log into the account, I can claim the weeks and I’m still not getting anything,” Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said his identity was verified seven times by ID.me, the system used by the state to confirm identities, yet he was never able to get access to his DEO Connect account or his benefits.
“Here is somebody who is truly in need of it and they’re not helping,” his mother Sherida Wilkerson said. “I have to keep encouraging him not to give up.”
Wilkerson said he lost his apartment and car after he was furloughed from his job with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A victim of PTSD himself Wilkerson helped other veterans talk through the events that triggered their PTSD but the job had started to take a toll on him.
“The little bit of disability I do get, goes to my bills,” he said.
His mother, Dr. Sherida Wilkerson, a PhD in higher education administration, let her son live with her as he tried to get the benefits he was entitled to.
“They laid him off (in March 2020 ) from the VA because he has so many medical issues,” she said. “They were going to have him work at home because of the coronavirus but they never got that set up.”
Make Ends Meet presented Wilkerson’s issue to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s reemployment team in Tallahassee last week.
An investigator found a 37-year discrepancy, Wilkerson’s birthday year was listed as 2020 instead of 1983.
The DEO updated his status, his Identity and his state benefits have been released.
If you have an unemployment issue email: firstname.lastname@example.org