Orlando, FL(FOX 35 Orlando) - The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says they have streamlined their process for claiming unemployment on their website. They say people who were denied federal unemployment assistance should reapply. However, many say the system still isn't working right.
Interior designer Jamie Kalinsky would rather be decorating beautiful homes, but instead he says, he spent four ugly hours trying to re-apply for unemployment through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. It’s a federal program where the self employed and independent contractors can also apply.
"It’s quite lengthy each section of the system for the information that they’re asking and it kicked me back to the first page."
After saying they improved the system, the Department of Economic Opportunity is encouraging everyone who was denied federal unemployment to try again. If they applied before April 4, they’ll need to reapply. We asked Kalinsky what is was that like.
"Torturous, he said. "It kept saying at a certain point in the system incomplete."
Kalinsky said he waited on the phone for 45 minutes, only to get disconnected, and he had to call back again. He was about to give up, when his husband stepped in.
"He went to an entirely different site that I didn’t know about and in 45 minutes he was able to put my information in."
But wedding photographer Michael Freas went to the same site and says he got a technical error.
"It’s seriously like a circus. They’re making us jump through hoops just to get an application in ," Freas said. "Why is it so hard for our government to come through and hold to their responsibilities?"
Florida State Senator Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, sent a letter to the Department of Management Services. She’s requesting a policy that allows anyone with ineligible status to be automatically reviewed a second time with another set of eyes. Freas wants the DEO to, give clear and concise answers. As Freas struggles to get his unemployment, Kalinsk hopes for an answer by next week.
"I’m relieved that that process is over and I hope this time in fact it will go through."
In order to use the system go to www.floridajobs.org and press this box over here to file a federal claim.