Lawsuit Filed Over Federal Unemployment Benefits

Lawsuit Filed Over Federal Unemployment Benefits

The courts could straighten out Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
July 26, 2021

Over the weekend, a lawsuit was filed over Florida’s end to federal unemployment. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provided a weekly $300, and there are recipients who say that they have not even been paid money that should have been directed to them. Similar action taken in the Sunshine State is expected to follow suit in states like Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas.

One of the advocates leading the charge is Vanessa Brito, who is working alongside lawyers. “We are in the process of drafting the language and compiling a substantive list of plaintiffs,” Brito said, adding that “we are also establishing a crowdfund in order to cover attorney and court fees since there is no direct payout should the courts rule in our favor.”

This was earlier in July, but now the lawsuit has been filed.

Reporter Greg Angel who has followed the case closely, shared the news on Twitter, questioning, “if this lawsuit is successful – as similar suits so far are in other states – can FL DEO even administer these retroactive benefits?”

Angel added that he’s “dealing with people waiting MONTHS for benefits and claim issues to be cleared up.”

Gautier Kitchen, a lawyer that has been involved in the Florida effort, criticized the system, saying that “the system  was never supposed to work.”

A vast  number of complaints about DEO call centers being unreachable and the agency’s website not working effectively have piled up, and Cindy Masser, who argues that she is still owed over $10,000 in federal unemployment benefits said that “it makes you feel hopeless, it makes you feel like nobody is there to talk to, nobody is there to listen.”

In another Twitter post, Angel shared that “Florida’s unemployment system crisis is putting families in financial debt, physical debt, and emotional debt.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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