Leon County residents pushing for more action from Department of Economic Opportunity

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 10:06:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Despite improvements within the last 24 hours aimed at better connecting out of work Floridians with their unemployment benefits, some are looking to state leaders for more action.

Cinnamon Shulz was laid off last month. Now, she's out of money and almost out of time.

With less than $3,000 left to pay off the deed for the property she lives on, Shultz is one of many Floridians left wondering how to make ends meet after being laid off due to the coronavirus.

"I'm afraid I'm going to lose my house," said Shulz.

Until recently, Shultz made around $800 a week working for Sodexho, a food service company serving Florida State University.

She filed for unemployment benefits with the state on March 15, when she learned she was out of a job.

"I've been trying since the 15th every day, all day to get to where I could claim my money," Shulz said.

"I feel like I've been lied to," said Shulz. "I feel that the citizens aren't cared about. I think there's a better way to get the system in place so people can actually get their money."

Leaders with the Department of Economic Opportunity say they're doing everything they can to make the process move faster.

"Our families have been impacted by COVID-19 as well, and our team is working around the clock to make sure that Floridians get the benefit that they deserve," said Tiffany Vause, director of communications, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. "What we want Floridians to know is that Florida's business friendly environment is strong. We were at 2.8 percent unemployment before COVID-19 impacted our state, and we're going to recover from this."

For people like Shullz with critical payments due any day now, recovery doesn't seem to be coming soon enough.

"I just I don't know what we're gonna do," said Shulz, "or what a lot of people are gonna do."

Due to the problems people have had trying to apply for reemployment assistance online, Governor DeSantis said on Monday that over 100 Florida Fed Ex stores are offering free printing and mailing of reemployment assistance applications.