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Florida's unemployment website still asks about work search despite waived requirement

Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 01:24:37-04

TAMPA, Fla. — As problems continue to plague Florida’s unemployment website, the I-Team found yet another failure with the system.

Typically, people applying for unemployment have to prove they’re searching for work. But during the current pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis waived that requirement through May 2.

Yet, I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern found the state’s unemployment website has yet to be updated.


Dusty Rudd worked for a local business making lens for sunglasses before he was laid off March 20, due to COVID-19. He is among the hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Floridians trying to file for unemployment through the state’s website.

“It asks you, ‘Have you looked for work this week?’” Rudd said of the unemployment website.

Rudd shared his application with the I-Team. He reported he is not looking for work, because the state has waived that requirement.

On the application, Rudd wrote, “Per the governor’s guidelines, I did not look for work due to the COVID-19 and his advisement to waive job searches till 5/2/2020.”

“Went through, got to the very end, submitted, and then it said, due to a pending issue, you are not eligible this week for unemployment benefits,” said Rudd. “They don’t have an end in sight. What we want to know is, is when individuals are going to start getting paid. The plain and simple fact is — when is this going to stop?”

Rep. Anna Eskamani told the I-Team she wants answers.

“We also get so many questions from people to this day who ask, why is this still something to fill out, I thought this was waived,” said Eskamani. “And there still is an unknown if they’re supposed to fill out that search requirement. That’s another area we’re trying to get clarity on when it comes to the department.”

The I-Team has been reaching out to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to get answers about this issue and other problems with the unemployment website but is still waiting on answers.