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Davenport man says his unemployment benefits have been on hold since May

Posted at 3:51 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 20:52:58-05

DAVENPORT, Fla. — With frustrations on the boil, Luis Lopez may finally be getting somewhere when it comes to his unemployment benefits.

"It's crazy that you have to get to this point for somebody to do something to help you out," he said.

Lopez was furloughed from his job at Disney in April. He's been there for 14 years, and in October, he found out they weren't bringing him back.

"You've been putting in so much time and effort and been a good employee," he said. "You don't expect something like this to happen."

The food and beverage industry is still taking a hit, especially in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area, which saw the largest over-the-year job loss in the state in September at 126,500 jobs.

Lopez lives in Davenport and says finding a job has been difficult. On top of that, his unemployment benefits have been on hold since May.

And like clockwork, every time he claims his weeks, he calls DEO to find out what's going on.

"Just to speak to somebody, it takes from an hour to two hours," Lopez said.

At some point, he says the DEO told him the reason his funds were being withheld is because he went back work, to a job he says he's never been employed at.

"Why do you keep telling me that I went back to Home Depot when I never worked there, I'm furloughed from Disney," said Lopez.

Fed up, Lopez and his wife reached out to ABC Action News and within 24 hours of sending his claimant ID into the DEO, "They're going to release my funds, and everything is going to be cleared and going back to normal."

They say his money should be in his bank account within 48-72 business hours.

If you have your benefit weeks on hold, DEO suggests:

"In general, if a claimant has benefit payments that are on hold, they should click on the link in their CONNECT account that says "Determination, Pending Issue and Decision Summary Link," and look to see if they have any eligibility pending issues."

A quick reminder to folks who are applying for extended benefits — your PEUC, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, must've been exhausted between June 7 and November 7.

RECOMMENDED: Florida's unemployed must wait until December to apply for extended benefits

DEO officials say the extra six weeks of help should be made available to those who qualify in December.