TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — During the Covid-19 pandemic, Laura Tweed was part of an “unemployment dream team” that helped thousands of Floridians slog through delays in receiving their benefits.
Three years later, Tweed is still trying to solve her own issues with the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)
“It’s crazy this has been going on since then,” Tweed said. “I think it’s a total joke. They just say it’s a glitch in the system.”
According to the glitch, Tweed was overpaid by just over $18,000. She said she has proven to DEO employees that she was actually underpaid by almost $10,000.
According to Tweed, the matter is complicated by the retirements of DEO personnel who are familiar with her case.
“I’ve been battling this for over two years. They owe me over $9,900 and they’re telling me I owe $18,501,” Tweed said. “So, I started totaling my bank account and I couldn’t even come up with $18,000 my bank had received from DEO.”
Pamela Patrick, of St. Petersburg, has been trying to solve a similar problem with DEO during the same time frame. She was told she received $12,000 in overpayments.
“Then, after you appeal which I’ve done, they wait a couple of months and they start the cycle all over again,” Patrick said.
Both Tweed, who has since moved to North Carolina, and Patrick said they believe there are many others trying to clear up their own DEO glitches.
8 On Your Side has called and emailed DEO several times over the past few week, asking how many cases date back to the Covid-19 era. No one has provided that data, prompting a formal records request for the information.
Tweed made headlines back in 2020 as part of a group dubbed the unemployment dream team, credited with helping thousands of people solve their DEO problems.
“We helped more than 70,000,” Tweed said.
While trying to solve her glitch, she has been told to call the governor’s office, then, the Florida Inspector General and DEO.
“Exactly,” Tweed said when it was suggested she was getting the runaround. “It’s been this way since the get-go.”
Morgan Jones, Florida Commerce Deputy Director of Communications, denied Tweed’s claim about what she is owed.
“At this time, the claimant is not owed Reemployment Assistance benefits and has been made aware of this fact repeatedly,” Jones said in an email.
Jones did not respond yet to a question about whether DEO still claims Tweed was overpaid by $18,000.
Tweed is not sure if she will ever have a clean slate with DEO.
“It’s ridiculous,” Tweed said. “I can prove everything. I am sick and tired of it.”