Thousands Waiting for Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits to Roll Out

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For Delfina Dumaine, the process of applying for unemployment benefits has not been easy.

“It’s frustrating,” she told NBC 6 Responds. “We’re in a pandemic. I’m out of a job.  I need this help and I’m not getting it and it’s just crazy for me.”

The 28-year-old said she lost her job with a music studio days before Thanksgiving and quickly applied for benefits through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s CONNECT site.

“My sister is already in the system, so she was like, do it as soon as possible because it takes time,” she said.

She said it took about two weeks for the verification process to go through and once it did, she started trying to claim for weeks.

“Every time I try to … request those benefits, they say I’m disqualified,” she said.  “There’s supposed to be in the portal a little section where you can click on it and it should show you why, but there’s no information when I click on it.”

Delfina is among the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who lost their jobs during the pandemic. If she ends up qualifying for benefits, she could also receive an enhanced federal unemployment payment of $300 a week through March 13, 2021, under the CARES Act Extension signed into law Sunday.  The relief package will also provide those eligible with additional weeks of benefits.

NBC 6 Responds reached out to the DEO Wednesday to ask about an update on the rollout of the newly passed benefits, and was referred to the DEO’s latest news release, which said, the department “…has been in frequent communication with USDOL.” The release also said: “Once proper guidance is received from USDOL and the programs are fully implemented, claimants will receive benefits for all weeks they are owed.” 

NBC 6 Responds also shared Delfina’s information with the DEO and asked that they connect her with someone who can help her with her claim.  

For Delfina, who said she was relying on help from her parents to get by, answers can’t come soon enough.

“It’s almost the end of the year, no one’s hiring,” she said.  “I was really needing that help and it’s insane.”

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