ORLANDO, Fla. — Furloughed from his job building conventions and trade shows, Richard Oakes still considers himself one of the lucky ones.
Despite months of waiting and navigating the state’s troubled unemployment system, he is now nearly caught up with payments owed.
Whether he has been paid the final weeks owed may depend on what records you look at.
Oakes is among a group of applicants who have reached out to Spectrum News, describing their CONNECT accounts showing they’ve been paid benefits, but their bank accounts say otherwise.
“I noticed even though it had looked like it had been processed and the amount had been deducted from my balance, it didn’t appear in my bank account,” Oakes said. “I contacted my bank and they said the statement is the statement and if its’ not there, it’s not there.”
Oakes said despite repeated efforts to call and email DEO, he has been given no answer as to where his payments are.
Spectrum News has also asked DEO repeatedly about the issue, but the agency so far has not provided any explanation.
This is the latest in a long running series of troubles applicants have been experiencing for months.
In a recent survey, more than 4,000 frustrated Floridians told Spectrum News they are continuing to have problems navigating the website, getting through to call center agents, or even get clear answers about their claim from the agency.
The majority of those more than 4,000 individuals also say they have not been paid in full, while hundreds said despite applying in March and April they still have not received even their first unemployment payment.
Spokesperson for the agency say they continue to process and pay claims as quickly as they can.
Adding stress to the situation is the growing number of coronavirus cases and fear that a new wave could cause either renewed business closures or extend furloughs, which is to blame for the record level of unemployment claims in the first place.
There is also no direction yet whether Gov. Ron DeSantis may extend Florida state unemployment benefits or whether the U.S. Senate will approve a plan to extend federal benefits, which are currently scheduled to end the last week of July.