Address confusion adds to unemployment woes and delays

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Dwayne Fennell is pretty bummed out.

The grill cook at USF-St. Petersburg who loves his job was let go last month. He filed an unemployment claim “in the last week or two of March” and hasn’t heard a thing since.

You know where the Florida unemployment story goes now. Hours on the phone. Weeks in a row. Never gets through.

On Wednesday morning, he finally did. And he got some really bad news.

“He tells me that I sent my form to the wrong address,” Fennell said, “and that it may take 3-4 more weeks.”

There are two addresses on Florida’s unemployment claim form — one at the top instructing applicants to send the form to P.O. Box 5350, and a few pages later P.O. Box 5250 next to official Department of Employment Opportunity letterhead under the heading ‘REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM,’ which is also the address for unemployment claim appeals.

The address at the top of the DEO reemployment form instructs applicants to mail to P.O. Box 5350 in Tallahassee.
A few pages later on DEO letterhead the “Reemployment Assistance Program” address is P.O. Box 5250 — one off from 5350.

Fennell says the operator told him “they changed it by one number…after they so-called updated their system.”

8 On Your Side took the question to DEO, where a spokesperson said the form address hasn’t changed, and that Fennell’s claim form would be only slightly delayed from sending to the wrong office.

8 On Your Side has the following tips for getting your application submitted quickly:
-Use the DEO’s new website
-Have all your documentation ready
-Don’t submit duplicate claims, it slows down the overall process
-Mailing the application is slower, but if you do make sure you have the correct address:
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, P.O. Box 5350 Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

DEO’s new dashboard shows very few paper applications have been filed — no more than 15-thousand out of more than 150,000 filed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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