NBC 6 Responds

DEO Announces Changes on How to Backdate Unemployment Claims

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The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has announced changes for unemployed people looking to backdate their unemployment claims.

Back in May, the DEO made a web form available so claimants could modify their claim filing date.

This action came after people complained for weeks they could not submit applications online using the state’s online portal -CONNECT.

For some, this delayed the submission of their applications and impacted when they were eligible to receive state reemployment assistance.

On Wednesday, the DEO announced that starting July 6th, “the request to modify the date of your claim must be made by calling the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service center at 1-833-FL-APPLY and choosing option 5.”

State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez said his constituents have complained of issues backdating their claims using the available web form and he questions how effective the hotline will be moving forward.

“Not formally but informally talking with those working at DEO, the option people are being sent to with this ‘new process’ to adjust the date of your claim is the most overwhelmed phone line,” Rodriguez said. “It is not a new process because they created this portal and the portal has done nothing but create problems for people.”

The DEO said “You may be eligible to modify the date of your claim to the date you originally attempted to apply for Reemployment Assistance only if you were unable to file a claim between the weeks of March 9, 2020 to April 9, 2020.”

NBC 6 Responds asked the DEO what people who encountered issues applying after April 9th should do, in an email a Representative sent us the following information: “claimants may have their claims backdated if they attempted to file their application on a specific date, and they were prevented from doing so because of an action by the Department. In this scenario, the claim will be backdated to the Sunday immediately preceding the date in which the claimant first attempted to file their claim.”

It went on to say “If an individual had an issue filing their state Reemployment Assistance claim after April 9, they need to call the Customer Service Center to discuss.”

When it comes to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the DEO said “A PUA claim is backdated to the first week during the Pandemic Assistance Period that the individual was unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of a COVID-19.”

State Senator Rodriguez said the DEO should offer clarification on the criteria claimants must meet to backdate their claims.

“During the month of April things were not great, so the idea that they are cutting it off at April 9th really needs an explanation and if there is some criteria they are using to allow people to go beyond April 9th, they probably should tell us what that is,” Rodriguez said.

For people like Ashlee Kilayko, she says she needs all the money that is owed to her.

“Right now I can’t pay my bills, my mortgage or whatever, how long is that going to last before I lose my house,” Kilayko said.

Kilayko is still waiting to receive unemployment benefits. She said she was deemed ineligible due to an error on her application.

“It’s telling me that it is still pending…it is saying that i only made $56 last year which is not true and i don’t know where they got that information,” Kilayko said.

It’s an issue she has been working to get straightened out for weeks.

“I can’t get anybody on the phone to correct the situation or rectify it because nobody answers the phone and then every time I am on hold I get hung up on,” Kilayko said.

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