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Even with paper applications, jobless Floridians still frustrated with unemployment system

Floridians still struggling to apply for unemployment benefits online, by phone or by mail-in

Outside of CareerSource locations across Central Florida are boxes filled of blank paper applications for people to mail-in and file for unemployment pay through Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PAPER APPLICATION FOR UNEMPLOYMENT IN FLORIDA]

Amid the coronavirus-related spike in unemployment, the DEO started offering paper applications when the system couldn’t handle the influx of applications.

For furloughed hair stylist Christie Lamberct, she printed one out and mailed it herself last week. Purposely certifying the mail so she can track it as it made it’s way to Tallahassee, however, after days she said since it arrived no has picked it up.

"They have to sign for it so I know when they received it," she said. "It says it's still sitting in Tallahassee and they haven't picked it up."

Lamberct is frustrated, like many, and called another 23 times Wednesday trying to see how long the new paper application process will take.

“The bills are going to keep coming,” she said. “It’s sad and it’s frustrating and I feel like we don’t have any answers to anything.”

It’s the same sentiments for Mery Perez. Her husband is an independent contract with no current contracts and she was just furloughed from her job working at a call center. The family recently moved into a new home in Orange County and they have three kids. Perez said they used most of their savings in April without many options for May.

“I kind of broke down and cried for a moment, but then it was like I don’t have time, I can’t miss a beat,” Perez said.

Every morning, sitting next to her kids while they do distance learning, she’s online, typing and refreshing the DEO website and on the phone calling and calling trying to just reset her pin to put in an application.

"I've been at it for two weeks but this morning, I counted literally 100 times or so I dialed that number," she said. "This left us really helpless when we really do need the help."

Perez said if she can't get through by Thursday, then she too will have to go and pick-up a paper application. CareerSource and FedEx are both giving out printed out applications.

According to CareerSource Central Florida, they have placed paper applications in English, Spanish and Creole at each of the five Career Centers in Lake County, Orange County, Oscoela County, Seminole County and Sumter County at the front door. For a full list of locations go to https://www.careersourcecentralflorida.com/locations


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