Single mother’s DEO benefits halted for 2-week paycheck issued 7 years ago

2014 unemployment funds trigger overpayment penalty

A former waste management sales representative from Hallandale Beach said her Florida unemployment benefits have been on hold for five months because of benefits issued the day she was hired 7 years ago.

Maylin Gonzalez, 35, said she first discussed the benefits overpayment with a Department of Economic Opportunity representative in March and was told it would be waived.

“I collected the week and got hired the same day,” Gonzalez recalled. “She told me that it was going to be under review, they were going to waive it, that it was only like a week.”

News 6′s Make Ends Meet team contacted a DEO investigator and the account was placed under immediate review.

Based on News 6 review of the account it appears Gonzalez is owed $9,100 in back benefits for the 5 month period.

Her account is listed as active and eligible but a DEO memo on the state website appears to refer to the 2014 payment dispute: “You were paid benefits you were not eligible to receive.”

“You guys are the first to contact me,” she told News 6. “This has been going on since March, I just hope that they can send me what they owe me.”

Gonzalez said her 18- year old son is now attending college and living with his father.

She said she has depleted her savings and is 2-months behind on her rent. For the past 11 years, she has worked as a sales representative for a Florida Waste company.

Following a corporate buyout, she was retained for 2 weeks and then fired.

Her contract includes a no-compete clause that blocks any work in the waste management industry for one year without written approval.

“So I have to wait another year to do what I know how to do,” Gonzalez said.

The DEO expects to have her account updated within the next week.

If you have an unemployment issue email: or text the words Make Ends Meet to 407-676-7428

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.