Florida Department of Economic Opportunity PIN reset fixes one problem but new issue arises

Department’s software fix creates need for Identity verification

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The now infamous Florida Department of Economic Opportunity PIN reset debacle was successfully addressed and updated this week; however, the software remedy saw thousands of people still unable to apply for weekly benefits because their state unemployment accounts were locked and, in some cases, their identifications needed to be verified again.

More than 6,000 and emails to News 6 complained of the DEO system’s roadblock to weekly Connect accounts — even after their Personal Identification Number (PIN) were reset and the accounts opened.

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The DEO estimates that roughly 150,000 claimants were caught in the force reset strategy aimed to counter cyberthieves. A spokesperson with the DEO said that 70% of the applications for state unemployment benefits filed last month were actually filed by imposters. The DEO was able to intercept and stop the applications but the attempts never stop.

Melissa Clinch of Ocala said she was able to reset her account by using her old PIN.

“I was like ‘Oh My God’ it went through,” the unemployed restaurant manager said “(Then) I was like ‘Wait a minute, it’s my old PIN. I thought I had to reset it.’”

On Thursday, her account was still locked even after she used her PIN but after having her identity verified she was one step closer to collecting her benefits.

Clinch contacted News 6 via text Friday to report her account was suddenly unlocked and she was able to apply for her benefits.

“Thank you so much for everything,” she wrote. “You have made me and my family so happy. I pray others struggling can get help too.”

This week News 6 has sent roughly 2,000 names of claimants who need PIN codes reset and accounts updated to the DEO reemployment team.

The DEO said it will take five days to three weeks to update accounts.

If you have an unemployment issue email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text Make Ends Meet to this number: 407-676-7428. Remember text do not call.

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.