DEO withdraws then returns $5,300 from Orange County woman’s unemployment debit account

Make Ends Meet investigation leads to reversal of “returned unpinned deposit”

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Beverly Petridis of Orange County discovered her Way 2 Go debit card account had been wiped clean of $5,300 in unemployment benefits by the very department that issued the money—the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she told News 6. “I didn’t know where it went. The card expiration date is 2023 so it didn’t expire.”

Petridis said the money was taken nine months ago so she called Make Ends Meet “because you get results.”

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This was a unique unemployment issue because the money was sitting in the same account for more than six months.

It turns out Petridis let the funds accumulate and sit in the debit card account since August 2020. Because she neglected to set up a PIN and withdraw the funds, the DEO “expunged” the account and activated what the department calls a “returned unpinned deposit.”

“I was really shocked,” she told News 6. “I guess if I was using it all along it wouldn’t have been an issue, but I was trying to save it.”

Because her husband Peter was still employed, she decided to save the funds for an emergency.

When she contacted the DEO, she was told the money would be returned, yet nearly nine months later her account balance still showed zero.

News 6 and Make Ends Meet contacted the DEO with documents confirming her story.

A reemployment team specialist called Petridis in less than 24 hours (17 hours to be exact) and assured her the money would be back in her account within 3 to 5 days.

“I can’t praise you enough that you got results in that amount of time,” Petridis said, “I really didn’t expect less than 24 hours, not at all!”

When asked if she had a PIN set for the account ,she said yes and she will make sure every dime is withdrawn.

If you have an unemployment account 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.