Breaking News
More () »

Some poll workers denied unemployment benefits after working Election Day

Although the workers only worked one day or so, the Department of Economic Opportunity recognizes them as full-time employees of the Supervisor of Elections Office.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida woman who helped protect one of our freedoms as Americans said she is now being penalized for it.

Krista, who lost her job as a teacher at a Montessori school, volunteered to be a poll worker on election day. As a result, her unemployment benefits have been halted for doing serving on Election Day.

“I decided I was going to volunteer to be a poll worker,” Krista said. “At the time I didn’t know it was paid.”

Krista was given a $250 stipend from the Supervisor of Elections Office after fulfilling hours of training and working the polls on Election Day.

“Because they put it into the record, now unemployment cut me off,” Krista said.

Unemployment expert Vanessa Brito said she has had other poll workers come to her with the same problem.

Brito said the Supervisor of Elections Office reports the stipend to the Department of Revenue, which then reports to the Department of Economic Opportunity that disperses unemployment payments.

“Once the Department of Revenue reports to DEO, DEO basically thinks this person is a permanent employee,” Brito said.

This means Krista’s unemployment claim is on a “return to work hold,” and she is unable to receive future benefits unless that hold is removed.

“It says, sorry, you get no more money, you returned to work,” Krista said. “And I’m like, I didn’t return to work. I wasn’t hired.”

In theory, Krista should be able to just not claim benefits the week she received money, and go on claiming weeks after, but she is now a part of a larger group of Floridians dealing with this same hold. 

Many have been on hold for months and haven’t been able to get DEO to remove it.

Krista said The Supervisor of Elections Office wrote DEO that Krista is not one of their employees and she should have the hold removed, but it hasn’t budged.

“If I would have known, I wouldn’t have done it, because now I have no checks coming in,” Krista said.

To try and remove that hold, DEO has released a return to work questionnaire to determine if someone has returned to work and if they are eligible for future benefits.

Brito has also made a form of her own for claimants to fill out that she submits to the department. She submits them periodically, so stay tuned to her Facebook page for the next form she will submit.


Before You Leave, Check This Out