Thousands who filed for unemployment through paper application still wait for their claim to be entered into CONNECT

Posted at 5:07 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 17:52:39-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- After he fought the CONNECT’s flaws and glitches for hours, Dennis Tennell decided to file a paper application for unemployment.

“I went down to my career source office and I filled out the paperwork right then and I turned it right back in,” he said.

That was in mid-March, when he was furloughed from his job at a hotel on Clearwater Beach. Fast forward to the first week of May, Tennell says he has yet to hear from anyone.

He says he has no idea when his company will bring back a full staff.

“They don’t even know how long that could be, that could be three weeks, it could be three months from now but who knows,” he said.

Nearly 186,000 paper applications have been manually entered into the system by state employees. It’s a small amount in comparison to the more than 1 million claims submitted since mid-March.

“I am a productive citizen in my community, I taught youth football for 20 years I do high school football right now,” said Tennell. “It’s like a slap in the face to us and nobody’s doing anything about it.”

The state says it’s paid nearly $700 million to the 452,000 people found eligible for state money so far but many folks say they aren’t getting the full amount. And for Tennell, nothing at all yet.

“Our whole life just got stripped out of us and it’s like I’m at home sometimes and I’m sitting here and I may cry once or twice because it’s almost like you’re having anxiety attacks,” he said.

Local lawmakers say they’ve been told folks who filed with a paper application can go to to see about their status.

When you get to the site, register, then click on “create claim”, type in your social, and if your application has been entered in, it should pop up with a status update.

Let us know if it works, by e-mailing