FLORIDA — Nearly half a million people are struggle to get financial help from the state — that’s the number of people that have applied for unemployment since mid-march, according to the Department of Labor.
With frustrations over the unemployment website higher than ever, so many people have ditched the mouse and keyboard and gone old school with paper applications.
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“You can’t even get through online with your pin number in order to file. That’s the reason why I am here picking this up,” said Michael Dorsey, who is filing for unemployment.
Adding to those frustrations, the state must still process a backlog of nearly 600,000 applications.
”Helpless. I don’t know how to describe it not having a paycheck," said Dorsey.
Georgia processed twice as many unemployment applications as Florida last week, even though its population is half the size. A labor and employment expert told ABC Action News that’s not because there are less people losing their jobs. He blames the faulty website, with people either giving up, or still unable to finish their applications.
“It was a total disaster when I first tried, the system was shut down,” said Alicia Reese, who showed up at Careersource for a paper application.
The state is seeing layoffs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, wholesale, retail and other service industries, but is Florida prepared to shell out this much money?
Lawmakers say yes.
A strong economy has helped the state put money into reserves for disasters like this, but so many people just want to get back to work.
“I’m feeling cabin fever inside the house, I’ve got to stay busy, stay active. Not just to get a paycheck but physically move around, sweat, work the muscles,” Dorsey said.
State Senator Janet Cruz says what we could likely see happen next is a special session between the House and Senate, where lawmakers look at the budget before it goes into effect in July to potentially cut non-essential projects and free up more money if need be.