Floridians Struggling to File Unemployment Claims

June 24, 2020

People dialing one of Florida’s call centers for help with unemployment claims in the past two months waited up to 12 hours to talk to an agent. On some days, up to 40 percent of callers simply gave up before receiving help. 

Those figures come from data provided to The Markup through a public records request to Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which handles unemployment claims.  

Daniel Rowinsky, a staff attorney at Legal Services of Greater Miami who represents low-income clients filing for unemployment, said the culprit is a technically flawed state system for filing claims that have consistently failed to calculate benefits accurately. 

About 80 percent of his clients, he estimates, have dealt with some sort of problem with their application that led to their not receiving money, or not being given the right amount.  

In a statement, Landrum, from the DEO, said the agency “recognizes that many individuals are seeking an improved level of customer service that Floridians expect during this unprecedented time.” She said the agency has hired 6,000 customer service representatives to handle the flood, including the thousands used by Titan Technologies.

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