JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The impact of the coronavirus pandemic extends beyond the medical field – many Florida families are out of work and are trying to get unemployment benefits from the state.
ActionNewsJax’s Paige Kelton has been reaching out to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity for weeks about issues with the state’s unemployment website.
On Tuesday, she was working to get answers for Nathan Sweet, a food server who worked at a restaurant in Jacksonville and has been without a paycheck since March 18. He’s trying to support his 5-month-old daughter Jasmine and he’s desperate for answers about where his application for unemployment benefits stands.
“It’s been a month and you can’t get through, even if you call at 7:30 in the morning to the unemployment line, it says they’re busy, and that’s right when they open. I can’t get any information,” Sweet said Tuesday.
Sweet wasn’t asking for donations – only the unemployment benefits.
On Wednesday, Kelton had some good news for Sweet. While it doesn’t involve the DEO, as Sweet and thousands of other Floridians are still stuck in limbo getting benefits, the good news was courtesy of ActionNewsJax viewers who cared enough to reach out.
Sweet was overwhelmed by viewers who reached out wanting to help him.
“This whole crisis has brought out the best in people. I see it everywhere, every day, but this was incredible,” Sweet said.
A retired couple gave Sweet their $2,400 stimulus check. They said they didn’t need it and wanted him to have it.
It was unexpected and appreciated, and Sweet vowed to pay it forward.