Tampa Bay woman confused as unemployment application seems to contradict governor’s orders

Florida Unemployment

HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay woman wants to know where her unemployment benefits are, after applying twice with the state.

Like so many people she hears one thing from the Governor and sees something different on the website to file for unemployment benefits. After nine weeks of not working she turned to 8 On Your Side for clarity.

“I miss the kids,” said Debbi Klimon.

Klimon is a substitute teacher who loves kids and loves introducing them to Dr. Seuss.

“They realize the rhymes don’t make sense and they don’t have to. It’s about enjoying the book,” said Klimon.

But when it comes to unemployment benefits Klimon thinks the state has forgotten “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

“I know there’s probably hundreds of thousands of people in the county, and I can’t imagine how many in the state going through this struggle,” said Klimon.

Klimon has applied twice for benefits she says she’s sent hundreds of emails and calls to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“I literally called 128 times in a row and still could not reach a person,” she said.

She’s confused to hear the state is no longer asking for weekly job contacts, but then finds it on her application online. She turned to 8 On Your Side for answers.

“Thank you for calling the Florida Department of Economic Opportunities…,” is what 8 On Your Side reporter Marco Villarreal hears when he calls the DEO.

In a statement from the DEO they clarified the request for five weekly job contacts:

“When completing the application, you will be asked questions about your ability and availability to look for work for the weeks of unemployment you are claiming. If you did not search for work due to the waiver, you may select “no” when asked if you looked for work that week. After selecting no, proceed through the next steps in the process. If you answered that you did not search for work, you will not be asked to complete a work search log. However, you will be asked additional questions that need to be answered to proceed to the next step in the process. Example questions may include: why did you not search for work; did you not have transportation; did you not have child care; or were you out of the area? If you did search for work, you may be asked to complete a work search log.”

Florida Department of Economic Opportunities

The department says those applying who have similar questions should go here.

Klimon hopes she’s approved soon.

“It definitely helps out so when you go from that to nothing, you have bills to pay,” said Klimon.

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