As Florida tightens requirements to get unemployment benefits, NBC 6 Responds continues to hear from people struggling to get the money they’re owed.
Job search requirements got stricter earlier this week for those receiving state unemployment benefits.
Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the change during a news conference in late March.
“We reconstituted the job search requirements and now discontinuing the added federal money,” DeSantis said.
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People now must contact five employers a week to remain eligible - a requirement that was relaxed at the beginning of the pandemic.
The additional $300 federal benefit will also stop by the end of June.
In the midst of these changes, NBC 6 Responds is still hearing from people struggling to get their benefits.
“It has emotionally, physically, and mentally buried me,” Deborah Gross told NBC 6.
Gross said she got a job after being furloughed earlier in the pandemic.
“I took the first job I got, which we are supposed to do, what I wanted to do, but then I got punished,” Gross said.
When she was let go from the new job, she said she expected to continue getting unemployment benefits.
“There is a return to work hold,” Gross said, referring to the status of her claim.
Her benefits showed up as “on hold” in the CONNECT portal even though Gross said she was told she was eligible.
After months of waiting, she said she feared she would lose everything.
“My house is my retirement, it is my security,” Gross said.
NBC 6 Responds contacted the Department of Economic Opportunity about Gross’ case.
In a statement, a representative told us, ”The Department is not able to provide updates or comment on claim or claimant specific information.”
But the representative did confirm her case was forwarded to their Reemployment Assistance team for further review.
Weeks after NBC 6 Responds contacted the DEO, Gross got the $9,875 in benefits she was waiting on.