Nicole Finn’s story of food stamp benefits cut because of a mistake by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity was a social media sensation during summer 2020.
The mother of two saw an outpouring of financial kindness from people across the country that year even after the DEO and Make Ends Meet corrected the benefits miscue.
This year, she faced another system glitch that locked her DEO account in July, blocking an estimated seven weeks, $1,200, in back-benefits.
“I have children to care for,” the frustrated Melbourne mom told News 6 this week. “I’m working two part-time jobs, a day job and night job, and it’s still just not enough.”
Make Ends Meet gathered Finn’s DEO account information and sent it the reemployment team for review. It is one of hundreds of DEO accounts News 6 has sent to Tallahassee over the last three months.
News 6 sent requests for assistance on Sept. 30 and again on Oct. 25.
Ironically, just minutes after News 6 concluded a zoom interview with her, Finn got the news she was praying for.
Her DEO account was updated to make four of the seven weeks available to claim, issuing roughly $664 to her bank account.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” the grateful single mom said. “I log in, look at it and I was blinking thinking, ‘Is this a dream, is this real?’ This is truly a blessing.”
Her DEO account showed the funds were deposited on Nov. 11. As of Friday, the remaining three weeks had not been cleared yet.
“I was actually in shock,” Finn told News 6. " I saw four weeks available to request, I was like, ‘How is this possible?’ I’ve been sitting here since July waiting to request these weeks and all of a sudden after our interview it was right there.”
According to the DEO, an estimated 97.9% of all eligible benefits requested prior to Oct. 15, 2021, for state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) have been paid to claimants.
If you have an unemployment issue, send a screenshot of your DEO account to email@example.com or text the words make ends meet to 407-676-7428