TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — 8 On Your Side is trying to figure out why hundreds – if not thousands – of Florida unemployment recipients had their benefits put on hold over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The common denominator appears to be if people claimed their benefits on Thanksgiving itself. However, it’s unclear if the issue is connected to the holiday.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity warned claimants that deposits would be delayed due to the holiday. However, this was not anticipated.
A spokesperson for the DEO tells 8 On Your Side the agency is “researching the issue.”
Lee Swole, a laid-off construction worker, is one of the victims of the Thanksgiving glitch. He says it’s the first major DEO issue he’s faced since applying for unemployment benefits earlier this year.
Swole claimed his benefits on Thanksgiving, just like he does every other Thursday. He expected to not get paid until this week but he didn’t expect to log on Monday and find his two weeks of benefits mysteriously on hold.
“I have a wife and two kids to take care of, my rent was due Saturday,” he said. “It’s just a crying shame what they’re doing to us.”
It’s unclear if this issue is connected to other glitches 8 On Your Side has reported on in recent months.
Swole says a DEO employee told him it could take two weeks to fix the problem. It’s a wait he can’t afford, he says, with rent already due and Christmas just around the corner.
“They don’t have to worry about if their little ones will have presents or food on the table,” Swole explained. “That’s something I have to worry about.”
8 On Your Side will stay on top of the DEO to determine what the problem is and ensure it gets fixed.
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