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Locked accounts continue to keep out-of-work Floridians from claiming unemployment benefits

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 12:22:58-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Unemployment claims are bouncing back and forth from locked to unlocked and back again. The Department of Economic Opportunity admits it’s a glitch in the system.

It’s impacting a lot of people who say they can’t claim their weeks if they don’t have access.

Every day for about a month, logging into CONNECT and seeing the status of their unemployment claims has been unpredictable for Tami Taylor and her Husband.

“Locked, unlock, lock, unlock, I mean it’s just like, I’m losing hope for the system altogether,” said Taylor.

She says the lock and unlock fiasco began after she was verified by ID.Me, a third-party company hired by the state to weed out shut down fraudulent claims.

RELATED: Out-of-work Floridians locked out of CONNECT accounts after ID verification

“The next day when it unlocked I thought everything was going to be great,” she said.

But the new extension of federal benefits wasn’t showing up and a few days later, the account locked again on its own.

“It’s a lock screen and the thing keeps coming up saying verify,” she said with a sigh.

The issues are also plaguing her husband's account. Yet, in a twist of fate, 5 minutes after ABC Action News Reporter Heather Leigh spoke with Tami on Tuesday, her account was unlocked again and the federal benefits are now showing up. But she worries that won’t last long.

Her husbands account is also now unlocked, but the new extension of federal benefits isn't showing up yet.

“You can’t get your hopes up and you start, it’s hard to explain but you start getting into panic mode because when that's your source of income and you rely on that you start panicking like now what can I do,” she said.

She and her husband were in the adventure travel business, an industry greatly impacted by the pandemic.

“It’s very hard to be in this space situation where you don’t have your career anymore and now you’re fighting with an archaic system that can’t seem to fix a glitch in four weeks,” she said.

The DEO says it’s working on fixing it and is telling folks to check their accounts 24 to 48 hours after it’s locked… to see if it’s been unlocked. They’re also encouraging ABC Action News to send in the names and information of folks dealing with this issue.

If that’s you, click here and fill out our spreadsheet. It is sent to DEO officials every Friday.