Some Southwest Floridians still waiting on unemployment to help rebound, amid pandemic

Posted at 5:58 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 06:43:35-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- The new jobs report for Southwest Florida will be out a week from Friday, but we already know a lot of people are heading back to work.

Still, many are struggling to get caught up on bills, and tell Fox 4 they can't totally rebound until they get all the unemployment money they're owed.

That includes on Fort Myers woman, who works as a hairdresser in Cape Coral. Teresa Letcher said she's still waiting on retro pay from April.

You may recall exactly one month ago, Fox 4 cover a story about a number of Southwest Florida claimants who said they were having trouble receiving the retro unemployment benefits they were owed.

The DEO had claimants should be sure to modify their filing effective date for Reemployment Assistance. And that for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, no action was needed and claims would automatically become retroactive in CONNECT.

"I did get the one week in May, but I haven't received any weeks in April. Four weeks in April I've yet to see the regular unemployment and the $600 extra that goes along with it," said Letcher.

With the deadline to file for those $600 payments ending soon, Letcher is one of many who's reached out to Fox 4, fearful that they'll never receive those checks.

She said since returning to work, business has been so slow that she's counting on retro pay to get by.

"It's a sick feeling in your stomach, especially when you really don't have anywhere to go and there's no business out there," she said.

She said many of her clients haven't been able to come in because they're people who live or work at long-term care facilities, or people who are unemployed themselves. And she's losing hope.

"I just see really bad things happening to really good people, people who've worked very hard all their lives. I don't know, I'm honestly, honestly losing hope and I'm really a positive person," she said.

As Letcher continues working to rebound from this crisis, Fox 4's Jessica Alpern has been following up with the DEO on her claim since June. She pressed the department for answers again Thursday, and it did confirm that it's looking into it. Which Letcher said is giving her some hope in the meantime.

Letcher is one of hundreds of claimants Alpern has been working to follow up on. If you still have questions when it comes to your claim, message Alpern here with the following details:

  • First & last name
  • Claimant ID
  • email or phone number
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