Father of 2 receives $7,000 in jobless benefits thanks to News 6

Make Ends Meet, DEO work to issue 10 months of unpaid benefits

David Silverman said he was ready to give up after waiting 10 months for unpaid state unemployment benefits.

“It got to the point where you can’t even get in touch with the DEO,” Silverman told News 6. “You get a voicemail saying all the lines are busy and then you get disconnected.”

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The South Florida real estate appraiser and father of two said COVID-19 created a void that forced him to turn to part-time work to make ends meet.

“I had to resort to Grubhub and some deliveries to get some extra money,” Silverman said. “I received payments for 10 months and then they stopped.”

News 6 reviewed his Department of Economic Opportunity account and confirmed he was placed in UC, otherwise known as regular unemployment compensation—the wrong program.

Silverman was still eligible for unemployment benefits, but the DEO mix-up triggered the delay in payments.

The DEO agreed with our findings and the next day we received an email from David Silverman with good news.

“I woke up to a surprise this morning,” he wrote. ”Two deposits totaling more than $7,000 in back benefits.”

News 6 followed up with Silverman via Zoom to talk about the back pay surprise.

“I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was in shock that I got the money,” he told News 6, “It means a lot. I have the money when rent comes up next month.”

Economists said the recent spike in COVID-19 variants could create a jump in new unemployment claims.

Mark Hamrick, senior financial analyst with Bankrate, told News 6 the numbers point to a trend of “fresh job loss in the near term.”

“Obviously, the one thing that is different is omicron,” Hamrick said. “There’s one estimate that as much as 2% of the workforce has had to stay away from work recently.”

Last Thursday, new jobless claims jumped to about 233,000, a level not seen since last November.

Another issue expected to emerge this tax season is identity theft.

On Monday, the DEO warned that if you received a 1099-G tax form from the IRS and you did not apply for unemployment benefits you “may be a victim of identity theft.”

At the same time, the Reemployment Assistance Program has begun issuing IRS 1099-G tax forms to reemployment assistance claimants from now through Jan. 31, 2022. If a claimant has not received their 1099-G form by Jan. 31, 2022, they can request it in the Reemployment Assistance Help Center.

If you feel your identity has been used by an imposter to collect benefits, report that to the reemployment assistance center as well.

Remember, if you have an unemployment issu, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet,” along with your issue, 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.