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Pasco woman says she waited for unemployment benefits since June 2020

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 17:53:19-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla — As the state pulls away from the additional $300 a week in federal benefits, people continue to e-mail and call ABC Action News about benefits still owed to them.

Right out of the gate in June, Michelle Santiago began to dodge unemployment benefit roadblocks.

When I went to apply for it, they said that I had owed money from a previous unemployment, which I never got paid,” she said.

Nearly $3,000, the DEO told her, was from a previous claim. It was holding her back from being found eligible for benefits in 2020. She appealed and hearing documentation she provided ABC Action News shows the state's determination was reversed in October, but the problems didn’t end there. That’s because nearly a year later she still hasn’t been paid the unemployment benefits she’s claimed each week. She says calls to the DEO were unsuccessful until recently.

“She was looking through the notes and everything and she says why are you just now calling? Why would not call if it happened back in October? I said I have been,” Santiago said.

Santiago said her anxiety has been through the roof over this.

“Just knowing I’ve been fighting this whole time for it, and if it weren’t for my friend I would be telling; I’d be under a bridge somewhere,” she said.

Michelle said her friend also had one more idea.

“She’s like if you don’t say something about it, nobody’s going to say something about it; that’s when she told me to call you, write you guys,” Santiago said.

We’ve sent her info off to the DEO with screenshots of her claim that still seem to have the overpayment listed, plus the appeal documentation, in hopes someone can help sort this out. But she believes the state ending the extra federal government benefits is premature for many.

"I hate to say it their pockets are lined you know they don’t look at how things are for other people,” she said.