Is filing for unemployment improving with new website?

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity launched a mobile-friendly website for unemployment applicants after many struggled to file, but there are still plenty of questions unanswered.

Robert Kantor of Punta Gorda finally got to apply, but he’s still confused.

“The speed is great, it’s smooth. The questions are fewer,” he said.

But … “When you’re done, it shows the status ‘resolve – completed.’ And it doesn’t tell you what that means.”

Plus, the new website doesn’t ask for direct deposit information or let you start claiming benefits.

“It also has no options to submit documents, all of which are going to be required at some point in time,” Kantor said.

The DEO said in a press release that once you apply, you’ll be contacted electronically or by mail after your application is processed.

“It’s just a waiting process right now,” Kantor said.

There’s also still no answers as to how long you have to wait before you see benefits.

Longstanding issues with the website are part of why State Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) sent a letter to the Florida house speaker and senate president, calling for a special session.

“We really have no safety net,” Bracy said.

“The maximum a person can receive in unemployment benefits is $275. That’s not nearly enough.”

Bracy said he thinks the state should raise the amount for benefits and extend total weeks you can receive them, so it’s better prepared in the future to help people get back on their feet.

Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) responded, saying – for now – with money coming in from the federal government, he wants to hold off on proposing those changes.

RELATED LINK: Mobile-friendly DEO website

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