Tampa Bay workers still unable to file for unemployment benefits through state

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As more workers lose jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, frustrations build around an overwhelmed state unemployment system.

Tampa area workers tell 8 On Your Side that they wait for hours on hold and then are disconnected. Some have called hundreds of times and still report they can’t get through. The state website locks up and asks users for a pin number that they never received.

They also report getting conflicting information from the state website. For example, some requirements or exemptions have been done away with by the federal government but still aren’t showing up on the state website.

State officials say they are hiring additional staff and working to improve the website, but some lawmakers say valuable time is being wasted.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, (D) – Miami, says she is taking calls daily from frustrated workers who were laid off and are running out of money. Eskamani and Democratic colleagues participated in a telephone news conference Monday morning.

“At this point, it’s hard to find someone who has successfully,” she said.

Officials with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity recommend people keep trying and they vow to keep working to make the system work better.

Lawmakers recommend you also reach out to your state representative so that they can keep the pressure on the state.

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