Local Mother Waited Months to Receive Unemployment Benefits

She is among thousands of Floridians who have experienced issues verifying their unemployment claims.

NBC Universal, Inc.

NBC 6 Responds continues to hear from people who say their unemployment claims are locked and stuck in the identity verification process. 

Crystal Moses, a single mother of two, was one of them.

When she reached out to NBC 6 Responds back in September, her unemployment claim was locked and listed as “Not Registered.”

It’s an issue she couldn’t get fixed until we reached out to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

“For me, you were a blessing, you were a godsend, I don’t know what you said in the email but whatever it was, it got them moving,” Moses said. 

Days after we reached out to the DEO, Moses says she received a phone call from a representative who verified her identity and unlocked her account. 

She says all the money she was owed was deposited into her account the following week.

“It has alleviated a lot of the pressure. Now, I can think ahead about getting my daughter into daycare now that things are open back up, having more freedom to do things within my household for me and my children,” Moses said. 

The DEO has struggled to verify claimant identities since the beginning of the pandemic. They launched two different online tools to make the process easier, including a webpage launched in July in partnership with the technology company ID.me. 

But months later, NBC 6 Responds continues to hear from people locked out of their accounts. 

“I feel bad for the thousands of people who are in the same predicament I was in just two weeks ago, and it is very frustrated,” Moses said. “I can only imagine what they are going through.”

The latest numbers from the DEO show roughly 4,000 claims sitting in the identity verification queue. 

Moses is happy her claim is no longer one of them, but she has this message for others. 

“My advice for other people who are in the same situation that I am, especially the single moms, don’t give up, you can’t give up, you have to think about your kids,“ Moses said. 

According to the DEO’s website, there are multiple reasons a claim can be locked but your claim status should appear along with a monetary status even if it’s locked.  

They recommend calling the customer service center for help at 833-FL-APPLY. 

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