State working to meet skyrocketing unemployment claims

Photo courtesy MGN.
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
March 24, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- The state fielded 224,000 calls last week to its reemployment hot line.

The agency acknowledges it is overwhelmed and working on improvements.

A rising unemployment has traditionally been predictable, until now.

“21,000 unemployment claims yesterday, 18,000 the day before,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Calls to the re-employment hotline are up ten fold in two weeks.

Wait times are now running three hours, if you can get through at all.

Ken Lawson is the Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“I want to tell the people of Florida that we are ramping up the number of people working in my call centers. This is an unprecedented time with the incident affecting the world, our country and state,” said Lawson.

The governor has suspended requirements that you must be actively looking for a job to receive compensation.

“Once anyone’s form is completed, it takes a week to verify the information and the payment to kick in,” said Lawson.

The maximum payout is $275 a week for up to 12 weeks.

There are jobs in Florida.

Several hundred thousand posted on the state website.

Jim McShane of Career Service Florida said the virus is creating new opportunities.

"The healthcare workers, they need more workers. There’s going to be a lot of quick training, trying to get people into that. I looked on the job demand today, and there’s everything from maintenance people to you name it,” said McShane.

Because the economy has been so good for so long, the trust fund has enough cash to pay out over 14 million weeks of unemployment benefits.

To visit the state job listing website, click here.

You can also call the area Career Service Florida, but all walk in traffic has been suspended because of the virus.