Surgery leaves Rollins College contractor without work or unemployment benefits

DEO account under review for 3 months because of ID verification delay

Kelly Salter’s decision to undergo knee replacement surgery was supposed to coincide with a scheduled layoff from her kitchen supervisor job at Rollins College.

Kelly Salter’s decision to undergo knee replacement surgery was supposed to coincide with a scheduled layoff from her kitchen supervisor job at Rollins College.

Salter is an employee of Sodexo, a company Rollins College contracts with for dining services.

“I’ll be laid-up since I’m having knee surgery,” Salter told News 6 a few days before the procedure. “I won’t be able to go back to work.”

Lack of summer school activities on the Winter Park campus meant the Mother’s Day furlough would leave her without work for most of the summer.

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Salter said she put money aside in her savings for bills and medical expenses with the understanding that she would file for unemployment benefits with the Department of Employment Opportunity.

A glitch in her identity verification with left her account “under review” and her savings at zero.

“Don’t get me started,” a tearful Salter said. “(It’s) more than I can handle.”

Salter contacted Make Ends Meet a week before the procedure unsure anything could be done.

She said once she paid her July bills there was about $100 left in her bank account.

Records obtained by News 6 found she was unable to confirm her phone number with in May.

Subsequent attempts to speak to the DEO were unsuccessful and she was unable to speak to an account supervisor.

“You’re the first person to give me any kind of answers,” she said.

The DEO reported an estimated 53,588 claims pending monetary determination many with identity verification issues.

As WKMG-TV first reported just under 272,000 DEO issues are locked as potential fraud.

News 6 contacted the DEO about Salter’s medical situation.

A DEO account representative contacted her Wednesday to explain what was needed to open the account and “clear the hold from her claim.”

“Honestly, when I reached out to you,” she said. “I thought you’ve been running so many of these stories forever, you’re not going to bother with mine.”

Since March News 6 has submitted well over 1,000 accounts to the DEO for review and we have obtained nearly $2 million in back -benefits for Florida residents.

If you need help with an unemployment issue email a screenshot of your DEO account. Here’s what we need to help:

We need to see the claimant number, monetary status and payment history.

DEO Press Secretary Andrew Nixon told News 6 the agency is working to get benefits issued “as quickly as possible.”

Nixon said the Reemployment Assistance Help Center is a great tool for claimants and employers to notify DEO of instances of Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft, provide documentation to DEO, verify their identity, complete their work searches, and serves as a repository of resource guides and FAQ’s for claimants and employers who have additional questions regarding Reemployment Assistance.

The DEO also told News 6 unemployment claimants should only submit one form per request some requests may take up to three weeks to resolve some are much quicker.

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.