ORLANDO, Fla. — Even with the majority of Floridians back to work, those still dealing with Florida’s unemployment website say they are experiencing problems and can’t get anyone from the Department of Economic Opportunity to answer their calls.
“I have been trying to get in touch with them for almost three weeks now, I have been on hold with my payments since Jan. 9 of 2021,” said Brevard County resident Cheyenne Carroll. “I can’t get in touch with anyone, they tell you to press the button, you press the button, and then it hangs up on you.”
Earlier this month, the state ended its contracts with the call centers it had employed as an emergency measure at the height of the pandemic. DEO officials said it still has a staff of 1,300 to answer calls and has processed 99% of eligible claims, but for those locked out for various reasons, getting in touch with someone to fix the problem has become a job all its own.
“My account is locked, I can’t get back in,” says Amanda Dririggers of Winter Park. “I tried calling, I called about 75 times in one day, I sent emails and (tried) all kinds of things including their chat feature.”
When contacted by 9 Investigates about these accounts, the DEO said it would look into them but offered few other details.
Florida’s work-search requirement was recently reinstated. On Saturday, Florida discontinued the extra $300 a week in additional federal unemployment benefits.
“I’ve gone to a couple interviews and still no calls, they keep saying there’s jobs out there that are hiring, but they’re not the job I lost,” says Cheyenne. “My kids and I are now living with my parents. This is just very hard as a single mom.”