Beau Guyott reaches Tallahassee to advocate for unemployment claims

Posted at 11:11 PM, May 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-17 23:11:53-04

Beau Guyott is now in Tallahassee after crossing the state on foot to speak with leaders at the Department of Economic Opportunity.

He’s been through three pairs of shoes and walked more than 400 miles, all to get state leaders to bring attention to issues with the state’s unemployment claims system.

Guyott started his trek with a strong mindset. “Before I left I said to myself there’s absolutely nothing — weather, injury — I don’t care there’s absolutely no way you can stop before you get to Tallahassee.”

Between March 15th and May 15th, DEO received more than 2 million claims. So far, only about 1 point 2 of this have been processed, making Guyott one of more than 800 thousand Floridians who’ve been waiting weeks to see the first dime of funds they’re eligible for after Coronavirus layoffs. Now Guyott is looking for answers.

"I read the audits," he said. "In 2015, '16, and also in '19 the audits of the DEO's website and just the benefit system in general, and I personally found such an unbelievable amount of errors.

Guyott left West Palm Beach’s City Hall at 8am on April 18th. What he originally planned to do in two weeks took more than 27 days as he stopped along the way to hear from struggling business owners and employees.

“The stories on my routes were completely inspirational.," Guyott recalls. "People are not sitting down and taking this lightly. They’re doing what they can to provide for their families.”

Now that he’s in Tallahassee he plans to do what he can. He says he wants to volunteer with DEO to help people understand the application process and work with leaders to make sure those who are eligible receive their checks.

With conviction, he says, “I will not let up on this until everybody is either back at work or everybody receives the assistance that they are due.”