After waiting a year for benefits, he turned to Make Ends Meet for help
TAMPA, Fla. – When Candido Rodriguez received a Notice of Approval from the Department of Economic Opportunity in March, the Tampa construction worker was convinced his year-long wait for benefits was finally over.
“It’s been my worst nightmare,” Rodriguez said. ” I haven’t seen a penny — it’s very aggravating.”
The DEO notice issued on March 25 found in part that Rodriguez is “entitled to receive benefits for the period beginning 3/28/21.”
It went on to say that evidence “meets the requirements of the law.”
According to the notice, Rodriguez provided evidence that his unemployment was “a direct result of the pandemic” and that under the law he is entitled to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Rodriguez and his wife Nancy have tried to access the benefits on the DEO website, but they faced a series of setbacks, including identity theft.
“I faxed my documents four times and my W2s and my tax papers,” Rodriguez said. “(DEO) said to claim my weeks, and I started claiming my weeks — and nothing, no results.”
Nancy Rodriguez said her husband’s benefits are listed as pending each time they access his DEO account.
News 6 sent the documents to the DEO’s reemployment team in Tallahassee.
Spokesperson Morgan Jones said “the team will take a look and reach out” to Rodriguez.
“I almost gave up,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully we’ll get somewhere with your team and Mike.”
If you have an unemployment issue, and you think you are eligible for benefits, do not leave the money behind.
Send your issue to firstname.lastname@example.org or text the words “make ends meet” along with the issue to 407-676-7428
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About the Author:
Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.