Florida Unemployment Agency Addresses Website Issues With Paper Applications

Departamento de Oportunidad Económica

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity has created paper reemployment assistance applications for the millions of Floridians struggling to file for unemployment through the agency’s website.

The applications can be printed, filled out and mailed to the FDEO headquarters in Tallahassee.

According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Department of Economic Opportunity has received 2.1 million calls from out-of-work Floridians.

NBC 6 heard from dozens of people who said they had been unable to apply for reemployment assistance because they said the online portal crashes.

“Putting in my second employer I would just get an error message and it would crash,” Victoria Olson said.

Olson tried applying for reemployment benefits earlier this week.

The NBC 6 Investigators found in an audit from Florida’s Auditor General the DEO was made aware of issues with the online portal previously.

The report mentioned “control deficiencies causing language translation errors on forms and documents” and it went on to say “incorrect error messages continue to exits.”

The Department of Economic Opportunity responded at the time by saying they would “address the appropriateness of error messages” and the project would be “prioritized to be completed in 2019.”

We reached out to the DEO to find out if the issues mentioned in the audit were fixed but our questions went unanswered.

On Thursday, DeSantis announced he signed an executive order to assign more state employees to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

He said the executive order would deploy some of the state’s 25,000 workers currently telecommuting or in non-essential roles to assist the DEO with efforts to help those filing for unemployment including call center operations.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor last week 227,000 unemployment claims were filed. That’s up more than 150,000 from the week before. 

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