ORLANDO, Fla. — Some Floridians continuing to run into roadblocks when filing for unemployment benefits with the state due to hardship brought on by the coronavirus are now turning to pen and paper to get some financial relief.
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David Shaw says he worked in food service at the Amway Center. He’s now been out of work for weeks, and the bills are piling up.
“I’m in trouble, basically trying to figure out what my next option is, and this is – this is it,” he said.
Shaw -- like other people who have reached out to Spectrum News 13 -- says he’s tried several times to file for unemployment benefits online and over the phone without any luck. The state shut down its website overnight Sunday into Monday while trying to improve it. State officials are also offering a link to an application people can print, fill out, and mail in.
State Sen. Linda Stewart has been printing out the online application and placing copies in boxes in front of her office at 1726 Bumby Ave. in Orlando, so people who can't print one can pick it up and mail it in. But there’s been such a demand for those printed applications, they’ve run out at times, and representatives from Stewart’s office have been continually dropping off more to keep up with that demand.
Shaw said the paper application at least gives him a way to be sure he’s taking a step toward getting some help for a financial situation that’s only getting worse each day.
"It feels great knowing I can actually put it in print and mail it,” Shaw said. "To me – I’m from the old school. That’s the way we always did things.”
State officials say they are working to improve their website so people can file electronic applications online, but it’s unclear when that will happen. As of Monday morning, several people were reporting they were still having little success filing with the website.
You can find a link to the state’s printable application at http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/rapaperapplication