Floridians fed up with seemingly broken unemployment system

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

So many of you are fed up, tired of dealing with a seemingly broken unemployment system online and over the phone.

Mike Baroody’s patience is wavering.

“When you get to a prompt, it says you need to speak to an agent. It tells you that if you want to wait more than 10 minutes, they will call you back, and after that it drops you off the phone,” he says.

Since he started the application two weeks ago, he’s been trying to update his information.

“Two days ago I did that 75 times. Yesterday I did that about 50 times,” he said.



Tired of unanswered questions, some of you have taken to Facebook to ask your neighbors.

One woman who applied on the new website wrote: “They left important info out that you would think [would] be a considering factor” and “No bank account info entered…nothing asked.”

Many others with pending applications commented that you still can’t log on to the original website to claim benefits, verify your identity or simply get anyone on the phone to help.

In a news conference Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis said he’s put an unprecedented amount of manpower into addressing these problems.

“I’m hoping they can do it as quickly as possible, but just even before this rush, this is a process that took three weeks,” he said. “My focus is on, let’s just get these checks out.”

Baroody’s message to the state: “People need their benefits and they don’t need them four weeks from now when the system is going to be fixed. They need them two weeks ago when this whole system crashed down.”

We’ve taken all your questions to the state – both the governor’s office and the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The DEO wasn’t able to answer all of our questions but responded saying after people file with the new website or paper application, they’ll process the claim and contact you if they need more information. They encourage you to visit covid19.floridajobs.org for frequently asked questions.

You can read their full statement below:

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) recently announced multiple actions taken to improve the ability for Floridians to access the Reemployment Assistance program. Last week, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-93, directing DEO and other executive agencies to take all necessary actions to improve the Reemployment Assistance program. Click here for the press release and click here to view the Governor’s roundtable discussion with DEO, the Departments of Management Services and Revenue.

This week, the department also announced a new mobile-friendly application for Reemployment Assistance available at Floridajobs.org/COVID-19. Floridians who do not have a current open Reemployment Assistance claim should complete their application online. Click here for the press release.

After an individual files a claim in our new online application or submits a paper application, DEO will process their claim for Reemployment Assistance. If further information is needed, the agency will contact the claimant.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is seeing historic increases in Floridians filing for Reemployment Assistance.

For the week ending March 21, Florida received 74,313 applications for Reemployment Assistance.

For the week ending March 28, Florida received 226,999 applications for Reemployment Assistance.

For the week ending April 4, Florida received 169,831 applications for Reemployment Assistance.

For the week ending April 11, to date, Florida has received 229,524 applications for Reemployment Assistance.

If a Floridian’s employment has been negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19, they may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.

Individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance may include:

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or
  • Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Individuals whose employment has been impacted, but are still receiving wages through paid leave are not eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.

DEO will issue additional information about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance as it becomes available. Benefits will be paid from the date they became eligible under the CARES Act. At this time, individuals who apply for Reemployment Assistance whose employment was negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 will follow the same application, review and payment process as all applicants for Reemployment Assistance in Florida.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, expands Reemployment Assistance benefits. The team at DEO is working diligently to get the resources provided through the CARES Act to Floridians as soon as possible and will be providing more information in the coming days.

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