What to Know
- Four locations were set to open at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in Hialeah for residents to get paper applications
- Applications should be filled out and mailed back to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
- More than 520,000 Floridians have applied for unemployment since March 15, compared to 326,000 in all of last year
Hundreds of residents lined up hours before locations were scheduled to open Tuesday across Hialeah to pick up paper applications for unemployment benefits as Florida was attempting to address problems with its website amid the increased number of applicants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Four locations opened at Tuesday in Hialeah for residents to get paper applications - something the state has encouraged residents to do after recent problems with its employment website.
The locations where applications can be picked up that will open every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until further notice are:
- 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.
"I would call three, four, five times waiting between 20 and 40 minutes and then they hang up on me completely," said Pablo Garcia, who waited outside one location for hours for an application. "It's very frustrating. No money coming out, no source of income."
Applications are also available at Career Source service center locations throughout Broward and Miami Dade and, starting Wednesday, applications can also be picked up at 26 locations throughout Miami-Dade's public library system from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
More Coronavirus News
On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the implementation of changes to help processing applications for reemployment assistance.
“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.
DeSantis also announced that applications could be picked up at one of over 100 FedEx locations across the state.
Stuart Wein told NBC 6 last week about his experience with the online system. He said 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.
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.”