ORLANDO, Fla. - Michael Freas is a wedding photographer. This should be his busiest time of year, but with the COVID-19 pandemic postponing weddings for the foreseeable future, Freas saw his last day of work on March 17 and started applying for unemployment the followig day.
Freas says he has hit road block after road block trying to apply for unemployment on line and when calling the state’s unemployment phone line.
“Every morning calling. I’d do it again from 12 to 1:30 then from about 4 to 5:30 just trying to hit different points of the day,” Freas said of his attempts of trying to get a person on the other end of the line.
Unable to get the help he needed to file unemployment, he went higher.
“I sent emails to the inspector general for Department of Economic Opportunity, sent email to inspector general who wrote the report and audits."
Freas said Tuesday he was received a call from someone in the Department of Economic Opportunity Office. He says it took her 2.5 hours to get his one page application filled out on line, saying she got kicked out of the computer system 9 times during the course of their conversation.
“I asked to get those weeks prior that I wasn’t able to claim, they put a hold on all of your payments. So all of your benefits go on hold while you wait for the department of economic to adjudicate whether or not you should get money for weeks you weren’t able to into a system because the system was flawed,” Freas said.
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In a Wedesday afternoon news conference, Gov. DeSantis said he is instructing his folks otherwise.
“The law is when you can file. But what I’ve told Ken Lawson is if someone was trying to apply last Wednesday and the system wasn’t really working then I think you should count that as the day. He’s looking at how that will work,” Gov. DeSantis told reporters.
Still no official word if or when that will happen.
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