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Florida unemployment: Rep. Steube calls state’s system woes ‘biggest frustration’ for his district

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A U.S. Congressman who represents parts of the Tampa Bay area says his office has been flooded with calls from people who are having trouble with Florida’s unemployment system.

Rep. Greb Steube (R-FL) – whose district includes Hardee and Highlands counties as well as parts of Polk and Sarasota – addressed the state’s unemployment system woes on Monday.

“That, I would say, has been the biggest frustration for folks in my district. The biggest number of calls has been with the state unemployment system,” he said.

As Floridians struggle with job losses due to the coronavirus crisis, the state’s unemployment system has been unable to handle the number of people trying to make claims. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday the state brought in dozens of new servers to improve the website’s capacity, hired hundreds of new call takers and reassigned thousands of state employees to help process unemployment claims.

Paper applications will also be available soon as an alternate way for people to file claims.

“It’s my understanding they’re now trying to send out paper applications, which I guess is a good step when the electronic application process is not working,” Rep. Steube said.

Steube said he’s been directing people who call his office with unemployment issues to contact Florida’s state representatives and senators because the system is run by the state.

“Unfortunately, at the federal level, we’re not in charge of it. We just allocate the dollars to the state,” he explained. “So I certainly hope Gov. DeSantis and the legislature will do whatever they need to do necessarily to make sure that there’s changes, that the technology needs are there to be able to take the very vast applications that we’re seeing across the state and in my district.”

Steube says he’s hoping the issue is rectified “very soon.”

“There are a lot of people out there that I’ve talked to personally who have been trying to go through the application process who can’t even get on the website,” he said.

The congressman also addressed problems he’s heard about with aid for small businesses.

“The biggest recent challenge has been small businesses and them going through the process of applying for the aid that we passed at the federal level through the Small Business Administration,” he said. “I think that started the process on Friday and what frustrations people have seen, we’re trying to work through that to make sure if there are businesses that need that help that they have the resources and the ability to make the application, get the money they need to keep their businesses afloat.”

If you would like to contact your state senator, click here.

If you would like to contact your state representative, click here.

For more information on the state’s unemployment system, click here.

For more information on aid for small businesses, click here.

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