Florida's unemployed having hard time with new system - WFLA News Channel 8

Florida's unemployed having hard time with new system

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Elizabeth Chandler says there are problems with the unemployment benefits computer program. Elizabeth Chandler says there are problems with the unemployment benefits computer program.
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Many Floridians waiting for unemployment benefits have had a stressful week.

The state updated its website to handle claims, and there have been kinks in the new system.

One woman contacted News Channel 8 on your side when she felt she had nowhere else to turn.

Elizabeth Chandler, who is unemployed,  said she never asked for this."Gotta keep goin on. Life keeps goin on," she said.

She went to college, she has a daughter and now she shares the pain of 235,000 Floridians statewide.

"It's been abysmal during the time I've been unemployed," said Chandler.

Since she lost her job in April she's been receiving unemployment benefits.

It's all done online, and on Tuesday, the state unveiled a new system that's more user-friendly.

Since Tuesday, Chandler has been constantly trying to request her unemployment benefits but she gets an error message.

"I went around through the various drop down menus, looking at various things. Nothing seemed to make any sense, nothing seemed to click the way it was supposed to click. It was a very strange system," said Chandler.

The state has acknowledged that there have been glitches.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has brought in 300 extra lines to handle the call volume and they say despite the glitches, claims have been going through.

Chandler said, "I can't call, there's nothing to do except wait to see if Saturday morning a check appears and money appears in the bank account. And then I'll know I was successful."

But she needs assurance, since the bills are piling up. "It's an uncomfortable feeling," said Chandler.

She's managed and paid most of her bills. She said, "My car payment? Well they're not real happy but they haven't taken the car yet. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and doing the best I can."

Chandler says being unemployed is bad enough on her self-esteem, and this just makes it worse. "It's a feeling of helplessness. And having no one to turn to," she said.

State officials are working around the clock to fix the problems with the system, and they say no one will lose any benefits to which they're entitled.

Related Content: Unemployment Benefit applications rise to $309K

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