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Unemployment applicants with prior claims say they're unable to receive benefits

Many March unemployment benefits applicants who have yet to receive payments are saying an old unemployment claim of theirs is interrupting current benefits.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Many March unemployment benefits applicants who have yet to receive payments are saying an old unemployment claim of theirs is interrupting current benefits.

Many of these applicants are telling First Coast News they had old unemployment claims even dating back to 2007 that is interrupting their current claim during the pandemic.

“Their claim effective date is the same date is the same date of whatever that prior claim is,” said Tami Bohm, who has been trying to help guide applicants on how to push their claims forward.

First Coast News was contacted by dozens of applicants with that same story.

“It allows me to claim my weeks but automatically disqualifies me,” said Daniel Harris, whose prior claim dates to 2019.

For months, the Department of Economic Opportunity has instructed that if you have filed for unemployment in the past to log in with your claimant ID, social security number and pin. Many claimants say that is what's caused the problem.

“More than 55% of the people I was speaking to fell into prior claim, March filers, no money,” Bohm said.

Bohm said she just can’t help these claimants. She said it’s a technical glitch only a DEO employee can override.

“My frustration is I can’t talk to anyone that can do anything,” one claimant said.

First Coast News sent DEO screenshots of viewers’ claims with this problem, showing what is supposed to be their current claim dating back to their prior claim. 

First Coast News asked the DEO “Is the DEO aware of an error like this? What should these claimants do to get this problem fixed?” 

We did not get a response.

Bohm's advice is to be relentless in contacting DEO. Some Facebook groups are sharing tips and tricks to get hold of DEO agents.

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