‘It’s been very disheartening:’ Florida-Georgia unemployment mix up leaves woman’s benefits on hold

Case being reviewed after News 6 contacted DEO

When Julie Meier and her husband Mike left their home in Florida after selling their 7-year-old custom boat canvas and flooring business in 2020, they never imagined they would be caught between two unemployment systems for the next two years.

ORLANDO, Fla. – When Julie Meier and her husband Mike left their home in Florida after selling their 7-year-old custom boat canvas and flooring business in 2020, they never imagined they would be caught between two unemployment systems for the next two years.

Meier told News 6 the couple relocated after a Georgia company purchased theirs and kept them on to run that part of the business.

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“We started off doing marine canvas cushions and upholstery,” she told News 6. “But then the business shut down.”

COVID-19 changed everything, forcing the business to go on hiatus for more than 12 weeks, so Julie needed to apply for unemployment benefits in Georgia — at least that is what she thought.

The Georgia Department of Labor told her it would connect with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and arrange for the benefits to be paid.

She waited and waited and waited and still no money from FDOE.

A year later, she received a phone message from the Georgia Department of Labor that put thousands of dollars in state and federal unemployment benefits in jeopardy.

The voice message simply said: “You’ll need to file in that time period in the State of Florida.”

That time period was 12 weeks between April and July 2020. She told News 6 she was able to open a Florida Connect account and file for some state benefits.

“I received two payments from Florida,” she said. “But from what I could tell, my payment was never backdated.”

The amount of money, more than $10,000, would help the couple as they try to recover from the financial void created by the shutdown.

“It would be the biggest relief for me because I’ve been worrying about this for over two years now,” Meier said. “It’s been very disheartening.”

News 6 presented her circumstances to the Department of Economic Opportunity and the case is being reviewed.

The benefits are expected to be released very soon.

If you have an unemployment or identity theft 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.