ORLANDO, Fla. – When Lisa and David Fontana relocated to Orlando from Chicago in 2020, they never anticipated they’d be reliant on state unemployment benefits.
The couple relocated to Central Florida in order for David Fontana to receive specialized treatment for neurological impairments he acquired during a surgical procedure.
Lisa Fontana said a near-fatal reaction to a pain reliever given following surgery on a shattered leg bone resulted in slurred speech and a foot drop, causing the foot to drag while walking.
“Basically, it looked like a huge stroke,” Lisa Fontana, who was crying, told News 6. “To pay for the procedure, we saved thousands of dollars.”
When COVID-19 decimated the job market, they had to utilize all of their savings to pay their bills and rent.
Unemployment was her only option because there were no jobs in her industry of motivational and public speaking for convention events.
Lisa Fontana claimed she was getting benefits, but her DEO account had stalled when she recertified on Nov. 22, 2020, due to a “double dipping” error that showed she had two unemployment accounts instead of one.
Lisa Fontana said the account gave her the lifeline she needed to help her husband and “start a fresh strategy” when she called News 6 on May 5. She expected speedy results, but it took 42 days for the account to be handled.
“This has made a significant difference over night,” Lisa Fontana said. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. You achieved incredible results.”
Lisa Fontana wants to share her story in order to encourage Florida people who are still waiting for unemployment benefits.
Lisa Fontana’s long wait for benefits ended on June 30 at 8 a.m.
A DEO employee called 42 days after she first contacted Make Ends Meet for assistance to confirm the money, $14,160, had been transferred in her bank account.
She claimed, “When I had an opportunity to speak with the woman in the adjudication department, she informed me very plainly that this originated from above.” “That’s you, and I owe you a debt of gratitude.”
Fontana said she fought for benefits for “seven months, 31 weeks, and four days” and that she “would have nothing” if it weren’t for the station’s help.
The Reemployment Assistance Help Center is a tool for claimants and employers to report reemployment assistance fraud or identity theft to the DEO, provide documentation to the DEO, verify their identity, and complete their job searches. It also serves as a repository of resource guides and FAQs for claimants and employers with additional reemployment assistance questions.
Claimants should only submit one form per request, according to the DEO. Some requests may take up to three weeks to process, while others are processed much more quickly.