Paper Applications Available as State Makes Changes to Unemployment System

Officials say they have gotten close to 2.1 million calls from out of work Floridians in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic broke out last month

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Governor Ron DeSantis announced the implementation of changes to help processing applications for reemployment assistance during a roundtable discussion Monday. 

“We want this system to be accessible to people, so that they have a way to do it, and it is responsive,” DeSantis said. 

He said the computer system's capacity has been increased to handle 120,000 simultaneous connections, about double the peak usage in recent weeks, and by Tuesday 750 additional state employees will be trained to handle and process phone calls. Private call centers are also being given contracts to provide additional service. 

“It would take seven seconds just to connect through, that may have been okay in 1996 but not in 2020, so the capacity has improved,” DeSantis said.

We spoke with one person applying for unemployment benefits who told us the online portal wasn’t working any better for him. 

“It’s been four hours as we speak,” Stuart Wein said. 

We first spoke with Wein last week about his experience with the online system. He told us he has spent hours trying to input data and each time he gets kicked out with the system giving him an error message. 

“I tried to claim weeks, and it kept doing the same thing again, kicking me back to the beginning, and back to the beginning,” Wein said. 

But if applying online isn’t working, you can now apply using paper applications.

Applications can be downloaded at or picked up at local career source locations. 

Also, starting Tuesday, printed applications can be picked up at at these locations in Hialeah: 

  • Slade Park, 2501 West 74th Street, Hialeah, FL 33016
  • Goodlet Park, 4200 West 8th Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33012
  • John F. Kennedy Library, 190 West 49th Street, Hialeah, FL 33012
  • Babcock Park, 651 East 4th Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33010

Applications should be filled out and mailed back to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. 

Last week, 3.8 million calls were made to the department, 50% more than all of last year.

More than 520,000 Floridians have applied for unemployment since March 15, compared to 326,000 in all of last year.

"We are in a position where people have lost their jobs, they are looking for relief and they were having a lot of difficulty," DeSantis said. “People were on this site and it was timing out. People would go hours and hours upon end and it was totally unacceptable. You have a single mother who no longer has a job, who has to worry about how the rent is going to be paid, how food is going to be put on the table. We want this system to be accessible.”

AP and NBC 6
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