When the pandemic hit last year, Daniel Johnson saw his work in the cruise line industry dry up.
“For about a month during the lockdown I was not working at all,” he told NBC 6. “I filed for unemployment and I was getting it perfectly fine.”
He then found a job that did not last, he said. But this time, when he tried to file for benefits, he said there seemed to be an issue related to his brief return to work.
“No one knows how it happened,” he said. “The system basically says I have 12 different return to work issues, but there’s no employer, no information listed for them at all.”
Responding to every consumer complaint
Lizzette Newman said she, too, was having a similar problem after losing her job in December 2020.
“They say it’s a return to work issue that I feel personally should have been resolved,” Lizzette said. “Right now, I’m 13 weeks and haven’t received any payment.”
NBC 6 sent both Daniel and Lizzette’s information to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, hoping they would connect them with someone who could help.
In an email, a DEO spokesperson explained: “A return to work issue is created when the Department is informed that the claimant has returned to work. Duplicate return to work issues may appear if the claimant has gone back to work multiple times or has been hired by multiple employers.”
Neither Daniel nor Lizzette said that was the case for them.
After our interview, Daniel told NBC 6 even though no one from the DEO had called him, they did finally start releasing some of his payments, allowing him to start getting some much-needed help.
Lizzette, meanwhile, said she was still waiting and hoping for relief to arrive soon.
NBC 6 asked the DEO if people who have a return to work issue should go online and fill out the following questionnaire, regardless of whether they were directed to do so: https://returntowork.myflorida.com. A spokesperson did not immediately respond.