MARION COUNTY, Fla. – As the coronavirus pandemic leads to more workers across Central Florida being furloughed and laid off, CareerSource is offering curbside pickup of paper unemployment applications, according to a news release.
The Florida Department of Employment Opportunities has had significant issues with accommodating the influx of unemployment applications in the past few weeks, and many have turned to paper applications as calls, emails and online forms are going unanswered.
“From August 2019 to February 2020 the contact center took a total of 2.3 million calls,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “The DEO received 3.8 million calls in just last week. That dramatic increase in call volume has prevented people from being able to connect to DEO and then the flood to the website -- the website couldn’t even handle it.”
CareerSource Central Florida said although its physical locations are not open, the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Reemployment Assistance paper application is available outside the front doors of its offices.
“We are mindful of the need to maintain social distancing. If there is a line of vehicles, please stay in your car until you can pull up,” said Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president. “You may take as many applications as you need, if you are getting them for other members of your household."
Lenny Smith drove from his Oviedo home to CareerSource in Sanford Wednesday to pick up an unemployment application.
"I'm going to fill them out and keep on pushing," Smith said.
He said he had no luck getting on the state's unemployment website after trying more than 200 times. Smith was laid off from his job last month.
“Like everybody else, I’m struggling. Like everyone else, I need to take care of myself,” Smith explained.
Elsa Medina was furloughed from Dillard’s a few weeks ago and said she tried filing for unemployment online as well but unable to get through Medina picked up a paper application at CareerSource.
“I checked where I can get this paper and that’s why I went here. I’m praying right that’s all we can do” Medina said.
FedEx is offering a similar service by opening more than 100 FedEx storefronts in the state and providing free printing and mailing of reemployment assistance applications.
Many people who have tried to apply for reemployment assistance had problems submitting applications to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s website.
The DOE has spent more than $25 million the past couple of weeks to improve the computer and phone systems to collect the applications.
Several Florida representatives are also printing out applications for people to pick up.