Gov. DeSantis says billions paid in unemployment, as some still wait for benefits

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state has paid out billions of dollars in unemployment; however, some people say they still haven’t received a dime in benefits.

Lake County resident Timothy James said he was furloughed from his consulting job on March 19. He said he applied for unemployment the next day.

“So it’s been 14 weeks, and I haven’t received anything from the state,” he said.

He said he tried calling the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for weeks with no luck.

“I would spend all day long just dialing and redialing and redialing,” he explained.

He said he was able to get through to someone in recent weeks who told him a past denied claim from 2016 was holding up his current application. 

‘They describe it as a glitch in the system. That my old claim is still showing as active,” he said.

He said the DEO told him they were working to have it cleared. But 14 weeks in, he said he and his wife are exhausted.

“Always boils down to, ‘oh we’re going to work on it, wait another week, and I wait another week and nothing happens,” he said.

FOX 35 News reached out to the DEO who said it would contact James directly about his case. We asked if past denied claims would affect eligibility, but have not heard back.

Meantime, Gov. DeSantis said the state has more than 1.5 million claimants who have received benefits.

“We’ve paid out 1.5 plus million individual claimants, and now 8 billion dollars, he said at a press conference Wednesday in Daytona Beach. 

He acknowledged the DEO is working to find people who are not moving through the system.

“I know DEO has gone back for the last month trying to figure anyone else who has fallen through the cracks,” he said.

James said he’s one of them and is tired of waiting.

“I think 14 weeks is ridiculous,” he said.