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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.