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Some out-of-work Floridians say state unemployment site CONNECT lists their employer as 'FEMA'

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 01:38:14-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) says it has paid out roughly $6.2 billion in state and federal money to jobless Floridians but some people say their claims are still pending months after they applied.

Checking and waiting — It’s a process Tony Fernandes and countless other Floridians say they’ve repeated over and over after they applied for unemployment.

“Six, seven weeks, eight weeks is a long time for people to survive,” said Fernandes.

His application was filed April 19 and nearly two months later, his claim still says "Pending Monetary" with no explanation as to why.

“I owe money to the bank for the mortgage, for the car loan which I have to pay today or tomorrow,” he said.

Fernandes tells ABC Action News he’s never filed for unemployment before and wonders what it was like for folks who dealt with these issues before COVID-19.

“Now that it happened to us, we realized how bad the system is,” he said.

And while he’s not received a dime from the state, others say they have received money with their employer oddly listed as "FEMA."

When we asked the DEO about that they told us, “This is not an issue we’ve seen a lot.” But many folks on Twitter posted screenshots showing it listed on their claim too.

ABC Action News put together two spreadsheets that allow people who haven’t been paid, are still pending, or suddenly stopped receiving their federal benefits to fill out their info which is sent to the DEO every day. When asked if the DEO actually looks at those spreadsheets, they did not provide a response.

“We were hoping that that money would come which unfortunately the way I see it now it’s not gonna happen,” said Fernandes.