Florida’s unemployment system: Now paying people who didn’t request money

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Kevin Strang is a music teacher in Orange County. He’s on summer break, not unemployed. Yet for the last several weeks he’s been getting unemployment and he can’t make it stop.

“I never logged on to the site, never filed a claim, and I’ve written them a letter, I’ve written my representative a letter,” Strang said.

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When he is not teaching, Strang works part-time at Disney. He works mostly holidays and over the summer, yet when Disney furloughed its workforce Strang got auto-enrolled in the Florida unemployment system and has been receiving payments ever since.

“It is very frustrating and also embarrassing,” he said. “I’m embarrassed to live in a state that can’t do something as simple as help people when they are out of work.”

Strang is not alone.

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In the last month, Channel 9 has received almost a dozen emails from part-time Disney cast members who are getting money they didn’t apply for and do not think they should receive since they are still working full-time at other jobs.

Workers said they are saving the money because they anticipate having to pay it back at some point.

When asked about the issue, a DEO spokesperson provided these instructions for people who have received overpayments or think they are receiving erroneous payments.

“We would encourage anyone who is unsure if they have an overpayment to call our Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY.

"You can pay back overpayments by mailing a check to the address below, payable to UC Trust Fund:

The Department of Economic Opportunity

Benefit Payment Control

P.O. Drawer 5050

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5050″

You can also return payment by credit card online here.