Unemployment applicants still struggling to file, but there is help

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:

People across the nation are struggling to file for unemployment, and Florida is no different.

While the governor said they’ve made improvements to the system, people are still reporting problems.

Paper applications were mailed out this week, allowing people to file for unemployment by mail – but those forms are actually only for people who have never filed for unemployment before.

Scott Johnson said it took him three weeks to apply and finally get through to start claiming benefits, but the website is still failing.

“Literally 10 to 12 hours a day, I’ve been working on this,” he said.

Johnson is self-employed and hasn’t been able to work since the beginning of March.

“Somehow it’s saying that I am employed when in fact, I’m not. So the system is not yet fixed.”

He also said he still had to fill out work-search information, even though it’s no longer required.

“You have to waste time entering that data to move to the next section.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday addressed some concerns, saying the state is throwing more resources at the issue – like 2,000 more employees – to handle the surge in applications.

“We’re putting forth an effort for this that we’ve never really done on a thing like this in the state of Florida before,” DeSantis said.

There is some help for other issues.

CareerSource is not the state Department of Economic Opportunity, but it has partnered with the state solely to help people reset their PINs over the phone and online.

“We cannot answer any questions about eligibility, or pending, or how long it will take for an actual claim to be processed. The only thing we can do is reset the pins,” said Janeth Castrejon,Ā  CareerSource communications manager.

They’re also providing paper applications and envelopes outside each of their offices.

If you want to apply for unemployment by mail, FedEx is offering free printing and overnight shipping, but not at every location. You have to make sure it’s a FedEx Office Print and Ship Center. Click here to find a location.

CareerSource offices in Southwest Florida:

Fort Myers: Career Center (239) 931-8200

Naples: Career Center (239) 436-4301

Port Charlotte: Career Center (941) 235-5900

Immokalee: Career Center (239) 658-3300

Clewiston: Career Center (863) 983-6138

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Website to help fix PINs:Ā https://careersourcesouthwestflorida.com/careersource-southwest-florida-we-are-not-unemployment-office-we-can-reset-pin/
CareerSource toll-free phone number: 1-800-557-3242

Locations searchable here: https://local.fedex.com/en-us/

Printable unemployment application: http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/rapaperapplication

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