According to numbers released Thursday, the U.S. economy gained 4.8 million jobs in the month of June, as the national unemployment rate dropped to 11.1%. In Florida, more than 84,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week. That number was about 11,000 fewer than the week before.
“When I look at these numbers, the first thing that comes to mind is why haven’t I gotten paid?” said Maria Ferreiro, who became unemployed in March.
Maria told NBC 6 she had been trying to get unemployment benefits for months and had not received any money.
“No money at all,” she said.
She showed NBC 6 a tally of the weeks of benefits she believed she was owed, totaling more than $10,000.
“My bills are piling up and everything is just going down,” she said. “I’m at my wits end right now.”
Maria said she was initially deemed ineligible but that her status later changed to active. She also said she received a notice of approval in the mail in June. Still, she said the weeks she had claimed so far showed up as “disqualified."
“When I try to go into the system and try to find out why I’ve been disqualified, a window pops up and it says the information is not available and I need to contact the administrator,” she said.
With fewer people filing for benefits, Maria said she hoped she and others who were going through similar hardship will finally get some answers and much-needed help.
“The part that frustrates me more than anything is not even about not getting the money,” she said. “It’s about being ignored.”
She said her calls and emails to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity had yielded no answers. She also said because her old job was gone for good, she had been applying for new jobs but, so far, had not had any luck.
This week, the governor extended the work search and work registration waivers until August 1. The DEO said on its website you still have to claim your weeks in order to get benefits.