DEO issues $17K in back benefits to residents waiting 6 months for funds

Make Ends Meet reporting ends long wait for single mom, self-employed man

Travis Cobb and Ashley Butler live 170 miles apart, but they have been living the same Department of Economic Opportunity benefits delay for the last 6 months.

“I have no idea why in the world those weeks are held,” Butler told News 6. “That’s a lot of money to be waiting on.”

The mother of three has been delivering groceries for Instacart and has never stopped filing resumes for a new job. As we first reported, she was an insurance adjustor with Geico but lost her position earlier this year.

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DEO records confirm Butler’s account is active and eligible yet more than $9,000 in benefits had never been released to her.

Cobb is in the auto detailing business in Lake Worth — not far from Palm Springs, Florida — but when COVID-19 hit, the demand for his services went flat.

Cobb told News 6 he had been waiting for $8,300 in jobless benefits since April 19.

He is engaged and has been struggling to pay bills and get help from the DEO.

“It’s rough not being heard by someone that can help me,” he said. “I feel like the system could have done a lot more to make sure Floridians get their benefits.”

According to the DEO, as of Nov. 1, the department has paid 2,430,365 claimants more than $31.8 billion ($31,811,609,929). Over 5.8 million (5,807,278) unique claims have been processed, representing 99.4% of unique claims submitted.

Still, News 6 and Make Ends Meet continue to hear from people asking why their benefits were never paid.

The top issues include: Accounts on hold, duplicate accounts and overpayments.

News 6 presented both Butler and Cobb’s cases to the DEO reemployment team and the state came through.

In an email to News 6 Cobb wrote in part: “Thank you guys so very much!! I never would have gotten it without your help!!”

In an interview with News 6 this week, an ecstatic Butler was beaming after more than $9,300 was deposited in her account.

“Thank you for being for us, because gosh, if it wouldn’t have been for you getting the results, I wouldn’t have gotten them (the funds). I’m just so grateful, thank you!”

If you have an unemployment issue email: or text the words make ends meet to 407-676-7428.

Remember to send us a screenshot of your DEO account and any communications you have received from the DEO.

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.