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Democratic Legislators: State Unemployment Benefits System Can’t Handle Demand

Jobs have grown, along with the work force. Unemployment has dropped. Photo: Flickr.

Photo: Flickr.

Democratic legislative leaders are calling Florida’s unemployment benefits system “broken.” 

That’s as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the U-S economy to a standstill. 

The legislative leaders say constituents can’t file claims for unemployment benefits because an online portal run by the Department of Economic Opportunity is virtually inaccessible. 

“It is becoming a challenge just to find any person in Florida who is eligible, who is newly eligible for unemployment benefits who has been able to successfully apply and begin to receive benefits,” Central Florida Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith says. 

The leaders say the problems mean the jobless can’t get help from an unprecedented $2 trillion federal stimulus package. 

The legislative leaders are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to intervene. 

“For most Floridians that we’ve been in touch with that are our constituents it simply is not possible to apply right now, simply because wait times are so long, because of glitches, the system gets overloaded, all kinds of errors,” South Florida Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez says. 

The leaders say $275 a week is not enough and want the governor to make more money available to the jobless. They also want a 12-week limit lifted. 


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »