TAMPA, Fla. — Florida now has a nearly 13% unemployment rate according to new data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
It jumped from 4.4% in March, to 12.9% in April which is about 2% under the US unemployment rate of 14.7%.
The CONNECT website went dark on Friday earlier than it normally does which is not good news for someone like Leah Bloom who has waited since March for benefits.
“I was ineligible for zero Florida wages even though I’ve worked here for 10 years,” said Bloom.
She lost her job at Disney Springs mid-march and after she applied for the second time, she was found eligible and active. Yet, her account shows two waiting weeks and she still hasn’t received a dime even after getting a way2go card from the DEO in the mail.
“I was so excited, I thought 'oh my gosh the computer must be lying because if they sent me a card it has have money,'” Bloom said. “So, I opened it, I set up my account and I went in, zero balance, zero transaction, no payment history.”
Times have been tough and she says her lifeline has been relying on her friends.
“I’m lucky I have great friends to help me with rent. I had to get food stamps and I never thought I would in my life,” she said.
Michelle Chason has dealt with issues, too.
After navigating the CONNECT system, she was able to apply for her PUA benefits and has received two $600 CARES act payments even after she had to input her information twice.
“I am pending with adjudication issue. I don’t know,” she said. “And now we have a pin-reset.”
She’s referring to an email many folks just received. The DEO says if you already have a pin and have been able to access CONNECT you do not need to reset your pin.
If you’d like to add your name to the list of claims we’re sending to the Governor’s office, click here.