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Out-of-work Floridians prepare for work search requirements to return to CONNECT

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 18:21:09-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s a requirement waiver Governor Ron DeSantis seems to wait until the 11th hour to extend and this time he didn’t before it expired early Sunday morning. That means anyone getting unemployment must prove they’re searching for work.

“It’s going to frustrate us and it’s gonna frustrate the DEO,” said Vlora Morina, who has been on unemployment since last year.

Morina thinks the requirement is going to bog down a system that’s already struggling to keep up. Fernanda Ruocco, who started receiving unemployment in June of 2020, agrees.

“I don’t think the website is ready for all of this data,” she said.

Even still, Ruocco admits she and her dad have been completing the work search requirement all along.

“We don’t trust the DEO website,” she said. “We don’t trust that and thought if we give them more information we would not have problems.”

No such luck. Her account is “under review” and her payments for the last 6 weeks are pending. She tells ABC Action News she can’t seem to get anyone to tell her why.

“Every time I call there it’s a different information, it’s a different path, it still nothing,” she said.

The DEO tells ABC Action News it’s continuing to monitor whether the Governor will waive the work search requirement but it's encouraging claimants to do it anyway for weeks after April 25 just in case the Governor doesn’t.

“I just applied to their school to be an assistant for three-year-olds, so I’m hoping I can get that job,” said Morina. “My dream has always been to work at a school so it is perfect for their time and stuff like that.”

Ruocco is also looking for work but says it hasn’t been as easy as some may think.

“Sometimes I send my resume, some people don’t even reply to you back, like oh no yes thank you,” she said. “Nothing.”

The DEO says you must send in 5 jobs from different employers each week that you’ve applied for. The reporting can be done bi-weekly when you go to claim your weeks. You must also register on EmployFlorida.com.

If you live in a county with a population of 75,000 or less you’re only required to report 3 jobs a week.

ABC Action News asked DEO officials what happens if someone turns down a job offer and they say it would be considered a “refusal to work” which must be reported but they say claimants will have the opportunity to explain why.