SEMINOLE, Fla. — For more and more FloridiansThe thrill of winning the lottery is being taken away. The thrill of winning the lottery is replaced by shock when they are told that they owe money (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity).DEO), the state’s unemployment office.
ABC Action News met with some winners who were losing out. DEOUntil the I-Team stepped up to help.
“Something that was so exciting became an absolute nightmare,” Sara Magnetta said.
Magnetta stated that her family has a holiday gift exchange. One of her lottery tickets turned out to be a $1,000 winner.
“We’re in a time where inflation is going crazy, I mean the prices of everything…that $1,000 was a saving grace around Christmastime,” she said.
The mother of three was not able to collect her prize money. She left only a “special circumstance ticket” as she believed she owed a state debt. DEO.
Magnetta declared, “Everything had already been taken.”
Nearly two years ago, she was unemployed.
“I literally felt a pit in my stomach,” Magnetta said. “I stay up on all my stuff, my taxes, I’m very on it with those kinds of things, so I’m like, how did I let this go?”
Pulling up her unemployment account, it read “$0” next to “overpayment.” Making matters worse, for many people like Magnetta, getting someone on the phone from DEO can feel like playing the lottery.
“You feel lucky if you even get through to get on hold for a 5-hour hold time because what happens is, their phone lines are so booked up that when you call in, it’ll say – everybody’s busy. Call back later. And it just hangs up on you,” Magnetta said.
In her eventual conversation with a DEO rep, Magnetta said it wasn’t guaranteed she’d receive proof of the payment made.
“I felt defeated after that phone call, for sure. Which is why I turned to you guys,” she told the I-Team. “This felt like this could hit home from a lot of people. This could put a lot of people in a bad spot that weren’t necessarily expecting to be in a bad spot.”
Further south, in Ft. Myers, a mother of four found herself in the same scenario, winning the same $1,000 prize in a scratch-off and then struggling to get answers to the same questions.
“How was I overpaid?” Sara Brook said. “There’s no way I was ever overpaid. I still had weeks to claim.”
Brook said to the I-Team, that she has stopped claiming weeks. DEOID.me was hired to verify identities. She was unable access her account, and she couldn’t reach anyone. DEOWe are here to help. Fast forward to December 2022 and she stated that she was still unable to communicate with a human being.
“I called. I was put on hold six, seven hours,” she said. “I’m telling you, there’s nobody. It’s just like a game.”
She can’t win this game.
“Nobody calls you back,” Brook said.
Magnetta said she wants to see change in DEO’s system.
“How they run their payments, how they notify people who have previously collected unemployment,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that this is the beginning to the end of how they run that system.”
Within days of I-Team contacting DEOMagnetta spoke out about the matter, saying that she was contacted by the state to inform her that they would send her a full reimbursement. Brook received a call as well. DEOAfter the I-Team reached her on her behalf. She is currently sending the state information. DEO requested. What’s still unclear is whether the overpayment was a mistake — or if it is being waived.
You can still win the lottery even if you have unemployment. DEOTo ensure that you are not missing any notifications, log on to your account. startTax season.
Send an email to DEOMagnetta’s press representative confirmed that Magnetta would receive a full reimbursement from DEO.
DEOAccording to the company, it informs claimants of any outstanding issues relating to unemployment claims (current and/or past) through their accounts.
“State- and federal Reemployment Assistance Overpayments” are when claimants receive benefits that they are not eligible for due to a variety factors. Ineligibility notices can result in overpayments. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEOIf a claimant has been deemed ineligible, a ) will determine that an overpayment occurred on a Reemployment assistance claim. DEO will distribute a Notice of Disqualification via the claimant’s correspondence preference. The Notice of Disqualification will inform the claimant if there has been an overpayment, and the amount that the claimant must repay.
While DEOAll referrals to collection agents have been deferred indefinitely forAll other non-fraudulent debts owed to claimants forState Reemployment Assistance Benefits – owed for weeks beginning March 1, 2020, through September 4, 2021, it’s important forYour readers and viewers should know that they may need to take certain actions to address their Reemployment Assistance claim.
It is possible that overpayments occurred outside the above-mentioned timeline. forA variety of reasons can lead to a claimant not providing requested documentation or information necessary to determine eligibility. for benefits.
For FloridiansFlorida residents who are concerned about their Florida health Lotterywinnings, and they have received or are receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits. DEOThe Florida LotteryWe have a long-standing arrangement, and we work closely together to communicate continuously about matters related to Florida Reemployment Assistance Overpayments. Lottery winnings.
Florida Statutes, Section 24.115(4). [leg.state.fl.us], DEOThis site provides information about Florida LotteryOn a weekly basis, identify Reemployment Assistance claimants who owe the state of Florida and their amount. Reemployment Assistance claimants who have an overpayment or debt on their account try to cash a winning lotto ticket. If they do, all or part of the winnings are withheld. DEO. This will resolve all or a portion of the claimant’s Reemployment Assistance overpayment.
An individual who has overpaid their DEOReemployment Assistance and the state debt (overpayment) of these individuals was resolved by the Florida LotterySends the funds to DEOThe Florida LotteryThe claimant is entitled to their winnings.
If you live in Florida, LotteryThe funds were transferred to DEOIt is concluded that the claimant has no balance due. DEOIs responsible forThe claimant will be refunded the money. Generally, DEOThe funds are returned to the claimant by check. The check is sent within four to six weeks to the address that has been verified by the claimant.
DEOIt is dedicated to helping eligible FloridiansReemployment assistance available Floridians can visit www.FloridaJobs.org/Overpayments [floridajobs.org]Sitemap forThe Federal Overpayment Waiver Request guide contains information and an example of how to resolve the overpayment. [floridajobs.org]Here is an example of the Overpayment Waiver request form. [floridajobs.org].
Additionally, DEOReemployment Assistance Help Center [mobile.connect.myflorida.com]This allows claimants to get assistance and make requests at their own convenience.
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