Florida mom loses $3,000 in jobless benefits after DEO mistake

News 6 viewers help family with $500 gift

MIAMI, Fla. – With an open space where the kitchen stove used to be, a broken-down refrigerator and a bank overdraft of nearly $500, Nedda Ryan had run out of financial options because of a mistake by the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“(The DEO) took the money and (it) applied it to an overpayment,” Ryan said. ”I never was aware of it.”

The DEO had inadvertently shifted Ryan’s weekly unemployment benefits of $3,000 to cover what the department thought was an overpayment of funds issued to Ryan while she was working.

Records obtained by News 6 and Make Ends Meet confirm she was not working at the time she had been receiving unemployment benefits from the state starting January 2021.

“Before COVID, I had never applied for unemployment ever in my life,” she said. “We’re not making it.”

Without those benefits, Ryan said she had no money to keep her phone working or pay for gas to drive to interviews.

“We don’t have money for anything,” she said. ”I haven’t eaten in three days.”

The Make Ends Meet viewer account gave $500 to her family.

In an email to News 6 she wrote: ”I received the $500 tonight. Thank you again, now I can fix the refrigerator.”

Because her husband is disabled Ryan is the only source of income.

News 6 sent her case to the DEO with a copy of a letter written by the department that corrected the mistake.

It read in part: “The claimant is entitled to receive benefits from the period beginning January 3rd, 2021,” the exact date the state started rerouting the unemployment funds to the DEO account.

Ryan told News 6 she has been waiting for the benefits to be paid back for the last 5 months.

The DEO is reviewing the case and should be issuing the funds soon.

If you have an unemployment issue 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.