Watch out for scammers this ‘Giving Tuesday’
ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s “Giving Tuesday.”And while you might be feeling extra generous, state officials are urging you to be extra cautious as well. READ: Brevard Zoo asks for donations to help care for Florida black bearsChief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said it’s important to watch out for scammers trying to take advantage of your goodwill. He reminded Floridians that some tricksters will try to impersonate real charities by creating fraudulent charities with similar-sounding names. Click here for details on how the Better Business Bureau can help you verify a charity though its Wise Giving Alliance website. For more information about taking safety steps when donating this Giving Tuesday, click here.wftv.com
Hurricane Nicole: What to do now if you’re in Florida
Hurricane Nicole is expected to make landfall in Florida Wednesday evening. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis shared some tips in a news release Wednesday afternoon with some things to consider as well as reminders for Floridians. If you need info about #Nicole, please reach out to your local emergency management office. Ron DeSantis on Twitter said he had declared a state of emergency for 34 counties in Florida on Monday in order to get Floridians prepared in time for the storm to reach Florida. On Monday, I declared a state of emergency for 34 counties to ensure Floridians had time to get ready.wftv.com
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer urges residents to prepare and be safe
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is urging residents to make final preparations ahead of the storm. WATCH: WFTV Live Storm CoverageStatement from CFO Jimmy Patronis:“As we just saw with Hurricane Ian, storms can intensify and change direction quickly. Now is the time to finish final storm preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole. We have all eight US&R teams that are standing ready to assist with recovery efforts. Stay safe, Florida.”Storm Preparation Tips for Floridians:Make sure to stock up on food and water and take only what you need.wftv.com
During Holocaust Education Week, Florida highlights Holocaust Victims Assistance Program
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In recognition of Holocaust Education Week, Florida is highlighting its Holocaust Victims Assistance Program. According to a new release from the Florida Department of Financial Services, the program helps all Florida Holocaust survivors in their recovery of proceeds from insurance policies issued to Holocaust victims and restitution for Nazi-confiscated bank accounts, art and property. Holocaust Education Week takes place during the second week of November, which corresponds with the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a defining moment in the discrimination and persecution of Jewish families by the Nazis. Read: Subtropical Storm Nicole expected to continue to strengthen; see updated track“During Holocaust Education Week, we stand together to recognize the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. “Last year, we assisted survivors and their families with securing more than $15 million through our Holocaust Victims Assistance Program, and I hope to see these claims resolved, and property recovered.wftv.com
CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights Legislation to Fight Back Against Post-Storm Fraud
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis held a news conference to discuss fraud prevention efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian. The CFO announced during the news conference that he will propose legislation to focus on fraud reform, requesting a $3 million anti-fraud public education campaign. His plan also includes creating a statewide prosecutor focused solely on property insurance fraud to hold fraudsters accountable to the full extent of the law, Patronis said. Read: Local election fraud defendant’s lawyer says motion to dismiss will be filed soon“We’re doing everything we can to fight against the fraud and the unethical behavior of public adjusters and contractors that come into this market that take advantage of people,” Patronis said. VIDEO: Local election fraud defendant’s lawyer says motion to dismiss will be filed soon Local election fraud defendant’s lawyer says motion to dismiss will be filed soon©2022 Cox Media Groupwftv.com
Florida State Fire Marshal calls on Elon Musk, other EV producers for answers about vehicles catching fire from Hurricane Ian flooding
Florida State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis has called for electric car companies to answer for electric vehicles that have burst into flames from the storm...orlandoweekly.com
Florida handing out more than 20k carbon monoxide detectors to those impacted by Hurricane Ian
ORLANDO, Fla. — The state of Florida is doing its part to protect those devastated by Hurricane Ian by making more than 20,000 carbon monoxide detectors available to those impacted by the storm. “Having a carbon monoxide detector could mean the difference of life and death. Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 4 Florida handing out more than 20k carbon monoxide detectors to those impacted by Hurricane IanFire inspectors from the State Fire Marshal’s office and detectives from the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) are also working to hand out carbon monoxide detectors to impacted Floridians. “A carbon monoxide detector is your first line of defense against this colorless, odorless, toxic gas. Every home with at least one fuel-burning appliance, attached garage or fireplace should have a carbon monoxide alarm.wftv.com
Unclaimed property requests: Hurricane Ian victims will be prioritized
Unclaimed property is a financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left unclaimed or abandoned by its owner. The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds. Read: Natural disasters like Hurricane Ian could worsen economic inequalitiesUnclaimed property also includes contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes in financial institutions. Unclaimed property assets are held by business or government entities (holders) for a set period of time, usually five years. To search for unclaimed property or to claim an account, go online to FLTreasureHunt.gov.wftv.com
As primary election day closes in, races on both sides heat up across the Sunshine State
He will face Democratic former state Rep. Adam Hattersley, who also has no opposition, in the November general election. —District 4: State Sen. Aaron Bean is among three Republicans seeking this open Jacksonville-area seat. On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Anthony Hill faces LaShonda Holloway, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020. State Sen. Randolph Bracy is also in the primary for the seat in a firmly Democratic district. The top Republicans include former Secretary of State Laura Lee, state Sen. Kelli Stargel and state Rep. Jackie Toledo.wftv.com
Florida insurers face ratings change that could raise costs
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (AP) — A ratings agency plans to downgrade more than two dozen Florida-based property insurance companies, in a move that could increase costs for homeowners with loans. WATCH: Hedge funds vs. homeowners: Entire mobile home parks are being bought by investorsThe ratings firm Demotech plans to downgrade the 27 insurers from an “A” rating to ratings of either “S” for substantial or “M” for moderate, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis criticized the ratings agency for the downgrade planned for later this month. Federal mortgage loan guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require borrowers of loans it backs to maintain insurance coverage with A-rated insurers. From a homeowners’ perspective, the timing is bad, said Paul Handerhan, president of the consumer-oriented watchdog group Federal Association for Insurance Reform.wftv.com
State Treasury Generates $412.4 Million in Interest in FY 2021-2022
Money The minimum wage rose Friday, July 1, 2022, in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. (Maksym Kapliuk/Getty Images/iStockphoto, File)TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the Florida Division of Treasury earned $412.4 million in interest during the 2021-22 fiscal year. CFO @JimmyPatronis: State Treasury Generates $412.4 Million in Interest in FY 2021-2022Read more: https://t.co/UB0C5xgQNm pic.twitter.com/u24NsRMmfT — FL DFS (@FLDFS) July 11, 2022Read: Wall Street’s slowdown cuts into Goldman’s 2Q profitsPatronis said the interest generated saves taxpayer dollars and helps fund law enforcement, schools, and transportation projects. Read: Gas prices continue to decline across the country, national average last week was $4.52According to the CFO, Florida’s S&P rating was listed as AA- for June. Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
Central Florida firefighter seeking PTSD coverage gets boost from state leader
VIDEO: Central Florida firefighter seeking PTSD coverage gets boost from state leader Central Florida firefighter seeking PTSD coverage gets boost from state leaderBREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A local firefighter in a court battle to get coverage for PTSD treatment is getting support from the state’s Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal. READ: Record amount of unclaimed property returned to Floridians, CFO Patronis saysIn the filing, Patronis’ office explains the intent of state lawmakers was to expand PTSD care for first responders, not limit it. “You can’t hold it anymore.”READ: Longtime firefighter says his coverage of PTSD care was deniedWilliams was diagnosed a year and a half later with PTSD, but his request for medical coverage through his department was denied. I think the law is pretty clear, but I’m not in those offices making these decisions.”Patronis is intimately familiar with first responder benefits covered by state law. VIDEO: 9 Investigates: Local firefighter says coverage of PTSD care denied 9 Investigates: Local firefighter says coverage of PTSD care deniedClick here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
Record amount of unclaimed property returned to Floridians, CFO Patronis says
Florida CFO: Central Florida sitting on nearly $400 million in unclaimed property The Orlando area holds nearly $400 million in unclaimed property, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced Friday that nearly $400 million in unclaimed property has been returned to Florida residents in the last fiscal year. The $368 million returned is a record for a single fiscal year in Florida. VIDEO: Inside Florida's unclaimed property vault The Orlando area holds nearly $400 million in unclaimed property, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Since taking office in 2017, Patronis says he’s returned more than $1.5 billion in unclaimed property to Florida residents.wftv.com
Patronis announces anti-fraud initiatives ahead of special session
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced several new proposals targeting fraud as part of the upcoming special session on insurance reform. Patronis said he plans to put forward five initiatives aimed at cracking down on fraud. Only about $6M has been distributed“We need teams that live and breathe property and casualty fraud, and we need to give state attorneys good cases,” Patronis said. Ron DeSantis has called for a special session to deal with property insurance issues. The special session is scheduled for May 23 through 27.wftv.com
Hurricane Preparedness Week: How to prepare before the season starts
(NCD)ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricane season is a month away. Patronis offers the following four tips that you can put into action now before hurricane season starts:1. Secure flood insurance coverage. There are over 30 insurance carriers writing flood insurance in Florida’s private insurance market. In addition, most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, so it is vital to act now.wftv.com
Do you have unclaimed property? Here’s how to check
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — More than $37 million in unclaimed property was returned to Floridians in February, chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis said. The Division of Unclaimed Property has returned more than $269 million to Floridians this fiscal year. Since 2017, more than $1.6 billion has been returned to Floridians in unclaimed property. The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds, the Florida Department of Financial Services said. To check if you have unclaimed property, click here.wftv.com
DeSantis issues state of emergency in Bay County; wildfires burn more than 1,400 acres, FEMA says
The governor issued Executive Order 22-54 to declare a state of emergency in Bay County after the wildfires engulfed eight homes and led to the evacuation of thousands more, with weather conditions expected to maintain a moderate drought in the area for at least the next three days, according to the order.
How to protect yourself from scams during Identity Theft Awareness Week
ORLANDO, Fla. — Chances are you know someone who’s been a victim of identity theft, but how do you prevent becoming a statistic yourself? Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is offering tips to Floridians to help protect themselves against identity theft in recognition of Identity Theft Awareness Week. “There are many ways you can protect yourself on a daily basis, from taking precautions while online to checking your credit report periodically,” Patronis said in a statement. Be careful with your Social Security number: Your social security number is a major target for identity thieves because it can give them access to your credit report and bank accounts. Check your credit report: At least once a year, obtain and review your credit report for suspicious activity.wftv.com
What is ‘smishing’ and how can you avoid falling for it?
ORLANDO, Fla. — Have you ever gotten a text message with a link from a number you don’t know? It may have been a relatively new kind of cyber fraud called “smishing.”Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is offering tips for consumers to avoid falling for these smishing scams, which use SMS or text messages instead of email messages to lure consumers to click on fraudulent links. READ: COVID-19 scams: How to prevent buying fake COVID testsThe Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips on how to recognize suspicious text messages. Scammers also send fake messages that claim they have some information about your account or a transaction. The scammers may:READ: Stealth omicron: New COVID-19 variant seen in 40 countriesSay they’ve noticed some suspicious activity on your account.wftv.com
Florida returns $25M in unclaimed property to residents; are you among them?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — If you live in Florida now or you used to, today could be your lucky day. The state said Friday that it gave back millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property to its residents last month. For all of 2021, state treasury officials identified the rightful owners of $358 million in unclaimed property. “The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds,” Patronis said. He also noted that unclaimed property might show up in other ways, such as a safe deposit box that was abandoned at a bank.wftv.com
Here’s when you should dispose of your Christmas tree to prevent a fire
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida officials are encouraging Floridians to dispose of their Christmas trees quickly after the holidays to prevent fires. Nearly 30% of Christmas tree fires occur in January, Patronis said. “While it may be tempting to leave the Christmas tree up longer this year, it is extremely important to take down the tree quickly to prevent a fire-related tragedy,” Patronis said. Many communities offer a Christmas tree recycling program and have specific drop-off locations or procedures for disposal. Do not burn your Christmas tree without checking with your local community for their open burn regulations.wftv.com
Florida could boycott Ben & Jerry's over ice cream company's decision not to sell in occupied Palestinian territories
Florida could place Ben & Jerry’s on a “scrutinized” companies list that prohibits government contracts or investments, because the ice-cream maker plans to stop doing...orlandoweekly.com
Latest victims in condo tower collapse include 2 children
It was the highest one-day toll since the building collapsed last Thursday into a heap of broken concrete. Patronis told The Associated Press that the ramp will permit heavy equipment to get closer to areas where debris needs to be cleared. The pancake collapse of the building has frustrated efforts to reach anyone who may have survived in a pocket of space. The possibility of severe weather prompted state officials to ask the federal government for an additional search and rescue team. Authorities said it’s still a search-and-rescue operation, but no one has been found alive since hours after the collapse on Thursday.wftv.com
Who are the people shifting through the rubble at the Surfside building collapse?
The disaster in Surfside has drawn emergency crews from across Florida. The number on the ground is equal to what was deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane that devastated the Panhandle in 2018, the state fire marshal said.news.yahoo.com
Death toll hits 11 in Champlain condo collapse on fifth day of search for 150 missing
The fifth day of an unprecedented international rescue effort brought only grim news: Two more bodies were pulled from the twisted metal-and-concrete ruins of Champlain Towers South, raising the death toll on Monday to 11 and dimming prospects of finding survivors.news.yahoo.com
Heartbreaking task of recovering bodies underway at condo site. Four deaths confirmed
The arduous and heartbreaking task of recovering the bodies of victims at the site of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo began overnight and continued into a somber Friday morning in Surfside.news.yahoo.com
DeSantis' clemency revamp will wipe out a backlog of thousands of Florida felons' cases awaiting review
For the past decade, felons in Florida have had to wait at least five years after being released from prison before becoming eligible to have their civil rights restored. But last week DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, acting as the Board of Executive Clemency, did away with the waiting periods, opening the door for so-called "returning citizens" to have their rights restored and possibly wiping out a backlog of thousands of other cases awaiting review. The revamped clemency rules also establish an expedited process for felons who have paid all of the legal financial obligations related to their crimes. "I think this is going to be a huge advancement toward reducing that backlog," she added. "What about the vast majority who can't afford the fines, fees, court costs and money that is owed to the government?"orlandoweekly.com
1 in 5 Floridians have unclaimed property, are you one of them?
ORLANDO, Fla. – One in five Sunshine State residents have unclaimed property, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services. Officials said more than $27 million in unclaimed property was returned to Floridians in February. CFO Jimmy Patronis said more than $349 million in unclaimed property has been returned since March 2020. [TRENDING: Video: Arrest of Naked Cowboy at Bike Week | 36,000 Fla. Republicans leave GOP | Man rescued 135 miles off Fla. coast]AdThe state released the most common types of unclaimed property: dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit card balances and refunds. More than $4.8 million was returned to people in the Orlando area in February.
Florida lawmaker looks to beef up COVID-19 employee protections statewide
Forty-three percent of the overall claims had been denied payment, according to the monthly report, published by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ office. Nearly 46 percent of claims filed by health care workers and educators had been denied.Claims related to COVID-19 accounted for 31 percent of the 93,228 workers’ compensation claims filed in 2020. Herrle acknowledged that decisions about whether claims are compensable appear to be “all over the place.”“Inconsistency in the workers’ compensation system isn’t good, and that probably needs to be resolved,” Herrle said. It is supposed to provide workers who are injured on the job access to medical benefits they need to be made whole. “Maybe the Legislature should put some kind of moratorium on workers’ compensation carriers that you can’t just increase insurance.orlandoweekly.com
Bill Would Require Regular Florida Cabinet Meetings
Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, wants the governor to call Cabinet meetings at least once every two months. The Cabinet officer calling the meeting would also get to propose the agenda. Cabinet meetings are set for Feb. 2, March 9, May 4, June 15, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, Oct. 26 and Dec. 14. They had planned eight Cabinet meetings for 2020 before schedules were changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, the Cabinet held nine meetings, including two teleconferences.flaglerlive.com
Democrats Attack DeSantis Handling of Covid as Unemployment Claims, Cases and Deaths Rise
Ron DeSantis’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, as first-time unemployment claims in Florida were up last week from the holiday-shortened previous week. Last week’s Florida total was among the lowest for a seven-day period since pandemic-related unemployment exploded across the state and nation in March. Since the start of November, the state has averaged just over 26,000 new claims a week. However, the weekly uptick in claims could reflect mounting pressure on businesses as reported Covid-19 cases and deaths have again been on the rise. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has paid out nearly $19.1 billion, mostly in federal money, to almost 2.13 million unemployment claimants since March 15.flaglerlive.com
Florida CFO advocates for business protections on restaurant tour
Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis, stopped in Central Florida Wednesday for his Rally at the Restaurant Tour. “We must provide our small business owners the confidence to be able to re-open without the fear of litigation,” said Patronis. Patronis, surrounded by legislators and business owners, said in the midst of a pandemic, he’d like to see Tallahassee pass liability protections for Florida businesses. It’s something business owners agree is a protection that’s needed. “Legislation is extremely important so that our small businesses can stay in business and continue to thrive whenever we get beyond this,” said business owner, Lauren Miller.
Orlando area holds more than $359 million in unclaimed property
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s top financial official is on a treasure hunt to find the owners of millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property. Jimmy Patronis, the state’s chief financial officer, announced Monday that the Orlando area currently has more than $359 million in unclaimed funds. Overall, Florida has $2 billion in unclaimed property. According to his office, one in five Floridians has unclaimed property. Patronis said to keep up with this month’s Holiday Money Hunt, follow the hashtag #FLHolidayMoneyHunt on Twitter.
As Disney Lays Off 6,700 Due to Low Attendance, DeSantis Congratulates Himself on Reopening
In another major sign of how Covid-19 has damaged Florida’s tourism industry, about 6,700 layoffs are expected to hit non-union workers at Walt Disney World starting Dec. 4. On Tuesday, Disney Parks Chairman of Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro advised employees of the pending layoffs. “We’ve had Disney parks open since July. He later encouraged the parks to increase their daily attendance after a summer surge in Covid-19 cases started to slow. Still, by the start of September, Disney and Universal scaled back operating hours due to low attendance.flaglerlive.com
Bloomberg Seeks to Pay Felons’ Outstanding Fines So They Can Vote. DeSantis Wants Him Investigated.
Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called for investigations Wednesday into former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal fees so they can register to vote in November. Before the money for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition was announced, Bloomberg reportedly was putting $100 million into Florida to help Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential effort. The coalition has collected more than $20 million for a “Fines and Fees” fund established in response to a state law and a recent court ruling requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” — fees, fines, costs and restitution — to be eligible to vote. Felons and their advocates are racing against an Oct. 5 deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election. Volz said Tuesday his organization already has spent $5 million to clear up the court-ordered debts of about 5,000 convicted felons.flaglerlive.com
Orlando's Desmond Meade says his 'resolve' is strengthened after Gov. DeSantis' pardon decision
click to enlarge Photo via Desmond Meade/TwitterSheena and Desmond Meade and familyAfter his bid for a pardon was blocked Wednesday, Florida felons’ voting-rights leader Desmond Meade said the decision made him even more committed to continuing his work.Meade, a former drug dealer who has garnered international accolades after leading the drive to pass a 2018 constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons, said he’s been waiting two decades to have his civil rights, which include the right to sit on juries and run for public office, restored.“If a person with my record would have to wait, what does that say for everyone else?” said Meade, who has been able to register to vote thanks to the constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4. “So my resolve is strengthened.”Meade, who’s been clean and crime-free for more than a decade, appeared Wednesday before the state Board of Executive Clemency —- comprised of Gov. The 2019 law requiring felons to pay outstanding fines and fees could prevent hundreds of thousands of felons from registering to vote.Fried also was among the critics of the clemency board’s decision Wednesday in Meade’s case.She said the board has signed off on just 30 restoration-of-rights cases since DeSantis and the Cabinet members took office in 2019. There’s a backlog of 24,000 felons seeking rights restoration with or without hearings.DeSantis also has not acted on more than 800 applications in which Patronis and Fried have given a thumbs-up, Fried said.“If restoring and protecting Floridians’ constitutional rights were a priority for this governor, it would happen —- but it’s not, so it won’t. And that’s a damn shame,” she said.orlandoweekly.com
Pardon blocked for felons’ rights leader
DeSantis and Patronis on Wednesday blocked Meade’s request for a pardon, with DeSantis saying the panel should take the issue “under advisement” until it can gather more information. The state’s labyrinthine and years-long clemency process prompted Meade and other advocates to initiate the constitutional amendment, which enabled Meade to cast a ballot in last month’s primary elections. Meade said his focus is on getting his rights restored in Florida, as a pardon would restore rights such as being able to serve on juries and have firearms. Critics have condemned the state’s clemency process as a remnant of Jim Crow-era laws designed to keep Black people from voting. The number is a stark contrast to more than 155,000 felons who had their rights restored under an “automatic” process initiated by Scott’s predecessor, former Gov.
Gov. DeSantis defends Florida agencies' response to coronavirus
click to enlarge Photo via News Service of FloridaFlorida CabinetWith Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried calling for a coordinated response by statewide elected officials to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. And how we will conduct safe elections while ensuring the sacred right to vote. It is our job as constitutional officers to give the people answers. “You know we're on it because we understand how important it is. And so those are just a lot of things that, you know, are not necessarily under the Cabinet's purview at the same time.”orlandoweekly.com
Furloughed Epcot worker waiting for unemployment benefits living on canned vegetables, help from friends
ORLANDO, Fla. – Dan Crowder’s wait for unemployment benefits has turned into a 8-week test of endurance as the furloughed Disney worker waits for his first check from the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity. By April 19, an estimated 43,000 Disney World employees were out of work with health benefits still covered by the entertainment giant. Disney employees furloughed due to closures were automatically enrolled in Florida’s unemployment system known as CONNECT. Crowder’s wait for benefits seems to reflect the frustration hundreds of people have reported their benefits are “pending” without explanation. If you would like to help Dan Crowder or you have an unemployment issue email us at email@example.com.