When Jacob Dziorney was furloughed from his job, he says he tried applying for Reemployment Assistance using the online portal - CONNECT.
He says he needed to reset his pin, but when he tried calling the Department of Economic Opportunity for help he says he couldn’t get through.
“I tried to call in online, but then it told me I had to call this number because of my PIN, I tried a few other things, to try to reset it, but they just said the only thing I can do is call the number,” Dziorney said.
He says his calls went unanswered or he would get disconnected.
“And called every time, over and over again, until I finally realized all they are really doing is just kind of hanging up on your I guess,” Dziorney said.
Dziorney wasn’t the only one not getting through to an agent. FDEO production statistics show the last two weeks of March the majority of the people who called ran into issues.
During the week of March 21, the DEO handled 234,272 calls. Of those calls 48,696 were self-service, 11,478 were handled by agents, 7,998 were abandoned, and 155,825 were reported as blocked.
The following week the FDEO reported handling 864,313 calls, and the statistics show roughly 90 percent of those calls were either abandoned or blocked.
Since the last week of March, the FDEO has contracted with three outside companies to help with the influx of phone calls and applications.
Faneuil, Inc was contracted for services costing up to $17 million, United Data Technologies was contracted for services costing more than $12 million, and Telaforce, LLC could get paid more than $79 million for their services.
One of the contracts detailed that the “Objective of this contract is to improve customer service, the overall performance, the overall answer rate, decrease call abandonment and blockage rate, decrease call durations.” It went on to say, “Agents must answer up to 80 percent of the calls directed to the contractor or an amount mutually agreed to by both parties based on call volume.”
As for Dziorney, he says he wound up filing a paper application and says he hasn’t heard back as of yet.
“I haven’t gotten emails or any kind of information telling me that i am filed, i am kind of hoping for the best,” Dziorney said.
The FDEO says paper applications should be mailed to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in Tallahassee and once it is processed a representative will contact the applicant.