TAMPA, Fla — Between e-mails and phone calls, the pleas for help from Florida’s unemployed haven’t let up.
“It’s insane that now we’re in June and you are still doing stories on this,” said Christine Egitto. “Did you ever think it would go this long?”
Problems with CONNECT and benefit programs being added into the failing system are continuing to puzzle folks.
“People are still getting locked, people aren’t getting their pay, and I feel like we’re like waving a flag like hey what about MEUC?” Egitto asked. “You’re the only one I know that’s really addressing this.”
In January, MEUC, or the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program was announced by the state. It gives self-employed or gig-workers extra money per week if they made at least $5,000 in net income for the most recent tax year, receiving wages through both 1099 and W2. That’s because they were initially only getting paid unemployment benefits based on their w-2 wages.
“What’s amazing is I’ll get taxed on them but they won’t count it as credible work,” said Jim Martin, who is waiting on MEUC payments.
MEUC was intended to even the playing field which many folks were happy about.
In the DEO’s latest update, payments to “eligible claimants” are being issued but here we are in June and some folks have no idea what’s going on with their applications or where their money is.
“It disappeared, I have not had a wrinkle from that at all. It’s amazing, it’s like you threw it in and you don’t know whether it’s a bottomless well or whether it’s somehow going to rise to the top again,” Martin said.
“If you call anyone to ask about how its going they don’t know what you’re talking about and it’s a lost cause. It’s about 20 weeks they owe us,” said Linda Roberts, who is also waiting on her MEUC payments.
All three work in the hospitality industry side by side with big business on corporate events. Egitto says it brings big money into the state but the industry was shuttered by COVID and while work is slowly coming back times are still very hard.
“You are established, your bills are ready to be paid and they need to be paid, so when it comes down to a point of looking at your bank account and not having that there it’s a constant stress,” said Martin
The DEO says it’s looking into all three accounts to see what’s going on.
ABC Action News also pressed the DEO yesterday about long wait times logging into CONNECT and folks getting kicked out of the system when claiming their weeks.
The DEO got back and says it’s not a problem on our end. ABC Action News reporter Heather Leigh took to Twitter telling folks to explain what’s going on so the DEO can see it first hand. The DEO acknowledges they’re monitoring her Twitter account and the comments to fix whatever is going on.