Weeks later, Floridians say unemployment system still broken

State acknowledges issues with website, phone lines

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – As the economy remains paused, people in the Sunshine State are begging for help getting unemployment benefits.

News4Jax has been flooded with complaints from people who are out of work, claiming they can’t file for unemployment benefits in the state of Florida.

The state has been acknowledging major problems and backlogs, but prospective filers said they haven’t seen any fixes.

Frustrations are high as Floridians sound off about not getting unemployment, in the wake of the biggest financial crisis many have ever seen. Some have posted messages on Twitter and Instagram, asking Gov. Ron DeSantis for help.

The News4Jax I-TEAM has gotten numerous emails and calls about people who’ve tried for weeks to get benefits after losing their jobs, with no success.

“I’m going to fight for myself like I fight for all my customers over the years,” said Maureen Rogers. “I’m going to, hopefully, get somebody to listen to me.”

After 23 years working in sales, the Ponte Vedra resident is now without a paycheck. She’s tried logging on the state’s unemployment website at all hours of the day, as early as 4 a.m., and said her calls also have not been answered.

“Every day makes a difference,” she explained. “I haven’t had any money coming in since the 30th, March. I’m fortunate my husband is still working. He’s in the construction industry, but we have half of our money coming in, and I can’t pay my mortgage.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity acknowledges problems and is now accepting paper applications. A message on its website has a warning of long wait times on the phone.

The DEO also announced online filing will be closed from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. “for necessary maintenance.”

“[DeSantis] understands the situation people are in and he has been pulling all the resources he has to get people the money,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry commented during his noon press briefing Tuesday.

Curry spoke with the governor Tuesday morning about the issues.

Rogers and so many others said they hope for a fix and funds as soon as possible.

“I just hope that those in need to get the help that they need soon,” she said.

News4Jax contacted the DEO’s press secretary Tuesday morning with a list of questions and concerns from viewers. The spokeswoman said she was working on getting answers to the request.

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