CAPE CORAL, Fla – When it comes to rebounding from the pandemic, the unemployment crisis in Florida has been one of the biggest hurdles.
Hundreds of claimants have reached out to Fox4 In Your Corner to help get answers.
Linda Gillispie of Naples had been waiting since March for the benefits she applied for. She didn't see a penny until Fox 4’s Jessica Alpern got involved. That's when she finally received the nearly $6,000 she was owed.
Gillispie is not alone. Her story is one of many Alpern has heard since she first set out to get claimants answers and results to their unemployment questions.
Like many, COVID-19 put Gillispie out of work back in March. But when she turned to our state's unemployment system, it failed her.
“It'd just tell me it's pending. And I'm like, 'okay well pending to what?' You know 'pending, come on,'” said Gillispie.
That was the case for seven weeks. And for seven weeks she went without a dime. She said she almost gave up.
“I had seen that little newscast you were on, and I caught it the last minute and I rewinded it so I could see what the three things were that I need to send. So then I sent you that, and you replied right away, and I'm telling you it was like within seven days I got a check for $1,900 and then the rest of the money they owed me,” she said.
That was a total of about $6,000 she was entitled to. But that wasn't until late May. Which has many questioning the governor's statements earlier that month.
You may recall that's when Governor DeSantis said those waiting for benefits since mid-March would have been processed by that time. He said many who were still waiting were potentially not eligible. But clearly Gillispie, like many others Alpern has had success helping, was eligible.
Which leaves her wondering... What if she had just given up?
“Had I not seen that newscast, I would have never known. I would have never emailed you, and I would have been back to work, and I would have said ‘I guess I just don't get it now,’” she said.