CAPE CORAL — It’s now been more than a month since many people have seen a regular paycheck, but for thousands of those people, the nightmare is getting worse.
Florida has rejected 267,912 applications, or 40.3% of the applications it has processed so far, without really explaining why.
“This Friday is actually going to be seven weeks without pay," said Margarida DaSilva, who first filed for benefits back on March 15th.
The state has been working to get through the 1.94 million claims it’s received so far. So last weekend, it took the site down, and when it came back up, DaSilva got a shock.
“All of a sudden yesterday, I receive ineligible," said DaSilva.
After almost seven weeks of waiting, and stretching the money she still has, her application was rejected.
But her notification doesn’t tell her why her application was rejected, and that’s confusing for her, because some of her coworkers got their money.
“I know four of us that live in Florida. So two are receiving, one two weeks ago, one received it today, and my manager and I? Absolutely nothing, and the status ineligible," said DaSilva.
We spoke with employment attorney Ryan Barack, who confirmed that many people are being left in the dark.
“Without that data, without the information about how it is that the state is evaluating these claims, people really don’t know what their next step should be," said Barack.
For people like DaSilva, the state sent out a notice, telling them to re-apply to try to get federal aid through the CARES Act, but DaSilva doesn’t understand why she has to do this all over again.
“That should be, fall under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance I think. Now I have to reapply for something I’ve already applied for," said DaSilva.
“If the goal is to get benefits to people, you should process them for all available funding streams on the front end. If the goal is to play with the data, or manipulate, or deny benefits to people, then you do what they’re doing, which is, you make people reapply, you make the system not make sense, you deny people for no logical reason," said Barack.
Without a logical reason, some people are talking about protesting. Some already have, but DaSilva is just wondering how she’s going to pay her bills.
“My rent is way past due. Where do I turn?” said DaSilva.