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Wondering where your unemployment benefits are? Lawmakers push for answers

Posted at 7:53 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 07:53:47-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- Transparency of our state's Department of Economic Opportunity is being called into question, and not just by those who've filed for jobless benefits. Even lawmakers are struggling to get answers.

Many have reached out to Fox 4 saying they’ve been able to file an unemployment claim, but still have no idea when they’ll receive a check.

Floridians have waited weeks, some about a month, and still no check. Even those who say they've received "tentative approval" from Florida's DEO say they've called the department multiple times but can't get information on when they might receive funds.

“I have five children, and my husband and I are both waiting to collect unemployment. In the meantime, we can't pay rent. We can't pay utility bills. We can't get groceries,” said Amanda McCallum, a former server.

“I've tried multiple times to call. Probably hundreds at this point. I can't get through to anybody,” she added.

Some state lawmakers say they too aren't getting answers. They want to know how many claims have been paid to date.

“We continue to have to just have to operate within a place of no transparency and accountability,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani.

In the meantime, she's started a survey on Twitter. It showed that of 500 people who responded, only 1% have received funds.

“I don't want to give you a number. I reviewed them this morning, but there have been claims paid,” said Governor DeSantis.

The DEO also hasn't answered questions about the current size of the application backlog.