A Pasco County man who recently suffered a heart attack and stated publicly that Florida's broken unemployment system was literally killing him ended up receiving all of his back pay on Tuesday from the Department of Economic Opportunity.

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"I really want to thank you, (Spectrum) Bay News 9 and you Josh (Rojas)," said Connor McCabe, 31, from New Port Richey. "If it wasn't for you guys, I would be in the same exact spot. Not going anywhere. Fell right between the cracks." 

About five days after his story aired on Spectrum Bay News 9, McCabe said he woke up on Tuesday to see a total of $8,000 deposited into his bank account.

"Our car insurance is due this month which is $1,000. I just paid three months worth of rent which was $3,500," he said. "So, a lot of it's going but I'm trying to be smart and do the right thing and pay what needs to be paid and pay ahead of things and catch up."

McCabe had applied for unemployment in mid-March after getting laid off and hadn't received a single payment until this week. The monetary status on his claim was "pending" and McCabe said a CareerSource employee told him that it appeared it had "slipped through the cracks."

McCabe said he suffered a major heart attack in June and because he had no money coming in for months, he could not afford physical therapy or pay his August rent. The outlook for the New Port Richey man was so bleak that he signed a "do-not-resuscitate" order after his surgery. 

McCabe said the lump sum back unemployment payment has given him hope.

"I'm taking the DNR off for my family and for me. I got to say after this, it made me change the way I was looking at everything because everything was going bad," he said. 'It was seriously getting hard to live. I shouldn't be a 31-year-old with a heart attack contemplating suicide or contemplating not resuscitating me because I can't support my family. That's not right. No American should go through that." ​

It took the DEO a few business days to respond to our request for information. DEO spokesperson Andrew Nixon said they sent McCabe's claim to their Reemployment Assistance team for review.

Nixon also said the DEO hired 1,171 employees since January and people should see their claims processed faster.

"Claimants should begin seeing resolution with their accounts as the outstanding issues are worked." he said. "Processing times for each claim varies as each claim is unique. Our team is working diligently and as quickly as possible to review individual cases to ensure eligibility while working simultaneously to avoid fraud."

McCabe said after getting his back pay, he finally had enough money to buy his 14-year-old son a belated birthday gift.

"I'm so much less stressed and it has helped a lot. It really has. My wife sees a difference. I'm more active and I'm not depressed," he said. ​"For people that are going through the same problem my heart goes out for them. It really does. I know what it's like." ​

Tom George, the owner of The Stockyard, a country music venue and bar in Holiday, saw McCabe's story and decided to hold a fundraiser for him on September 12 at noon. The Stockyard manager, Tiffany Reinert, said they're always willing to help out people in their community.

"He's a good kid (McCabe). Don't even know him," she said. "Saw him on the news and he's in New Port Richey and so am I."

McCabe said he's very grateful for all the support he's received.

"If anybody wants to donate and help me out because I'm still having trouble. I'm still unemployed," he said. "Everything helps. Tremendously. My heart goes out to everyone. Thank you."