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Out-of-work Floridians collecting benefits continue dealing with issues

Dane Eagle the DEO's director 'declines' interview request
Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 18:15:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — A security breach that impacted nearly 58,000 unemployed Floridians who collect benefits prompted the Department of Economic Opportunity to lock accounts and reset pins.

But, hundreds of claimants have told ABC Action News they can’t reset their ins or get into their accounts, and attempts to get the department's Director Dane Eagle for a one-on-one interview haven’t been unsuccessful.

Heather Leigh: “How difficult has that been for you?” Latanya Sans: “Very difficult. You like wanna just scream.”

Sans, who has claimed unemployment since March 2020 is now able to claim her weeks after she finally got someone at the DEO to unlock her unemployment account she says was inaccessible for more than a month.

“They unlocked me and I had to get my pin reset and then I was able to go in for two weeks and then my pin got tampered with again so I had to go call that number again to try and get someone to reset it so I can get my other two weeks,” she said.

Now, she’s trying to fight to help her daughter who hasn’t been able to get into her account either and has been unable to claim any of her weeks.

“You know we only get so much. I have to make sure that we have a car, we have lights, we have a roof over her head,” said Sans.

She’s one of the hundreds that have reached out to ABC Action News for help recently, about the pin issues.

Since last summer, we’ve sent the information and names of more than 31,000 people to the DEO and for months we’ve been asking to speak with the man in charge, Dane Eagle, the director of the DEO, one-on-one with no success.

During a press conference Tuesday in Jacksonville a reporter asked Eagle if he could ask him some questions. He replied, “We’ll follow up with you.”

Unfortunately, we know what the answer is.

The DEO sent an e-mail “declining” Heather Leigh’s request to interview Eagle. When she asked the reason, she did not receive an answer. Instead, she was told the communication department can answer any outstanding questions she may have.

“My thing is we are taxpayers and we have not filed for unemployment for ever and we have a situation where you have a pandemic and we can’t get a hold of anyone to give us money and help us,” said Sans.

The DEO did send out an update Tuesday evening to alert claimants who are having troubles resetting their pin about a new verification tool called DEO Verify. It says claimants will receive an e-mail prompting them to DEO Verify and is supposed to help them verify their identity and access their account.

You must have a Florida driver's license or ID card to set a new pin the DEO also says it will be introducing multi-factor authentication measures to keep accounts secure.

Sans says she has other plans if her daughter’s account can’t get sorted out.

“If we have to go drive up Tallahassee that’s what we’re gonna do,” Sans said.

As for Eagle, the DEO says it will keep Heather Leigh’s request for an interview open.

If you would like us to send your information to the DEO so officials there can help resolve your issues, please fill out our spreadsheet. We send it into the DEO weekly, sometimes more.