Orlando businesswoman waits more than a year for unemployment claimant number

DEO and News 6 help her create account for long awaited benefits

ORLANDO, Fla. – Stephanie Lindgren had been waiting since April of last year to get a claimant ID number issued by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity so she could collect state and federal unemployment benefits of more than $30,000.

“I’ve worked in Florida my entire life,” Lindgren said. “These are benefits, I’ve earned working all those years.”

The former advertising researcher ended her 20-year career in 2019 to start a photo booth service for special events ranging from weddings to birthday parties. Lindgren said the COVID-19 pandemic took what was a flourishing business and brought it to a sudden stop.

“Weddings, birthdays, holidays, everything, canceled,” she said. “I dumped a lot of my savings into my business, it’s all gone.”

Lindgren said her sister had urged her to contact News 6 and Make Ends Meet as the bills started mounting and her savings account was wiped out. She saw a Make Ends Meet half-hour weekend special that featured men and women faced with the same struggles she faced and that inspired her to call.

“You guys are obviously getting results for a lot of people,” she said. “Not only am I getting results immediately the DEO got a hold of me the following week.”

After contacting News 6, Lindgren was able to get a claimant number and open a DEO account. She was able to file for unemployment weeks In August and, according to the DEO, she should be able to apply for her back-benefits dating back to April 9, 2020.

“You guys are doing a fantastic job and no other station is doing this,” she said. “They might do a story but they’re not getting results.”

If you have an unemployment issue, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet” to 407-676-7428

Don’t forget the DEO will soon require every claimant to have a separate email address and verified identity through Id.me.

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.