Technical errors plague Florida’s unemployment website frustrating claimants amid COVID-19 crisis

Unemployment website fraught with issues as Floridians try to file claims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Many viewers have been calling and writing in to the Action News Jax newsroom letting us know the problems they’re having while trying to file for unemployment.

From technical issues on the website to not getting through over the phone and issues trying to verify identities, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which handles unemployment claims, admits it’s overwhelmed.

The department tweeted Thursday announcing that it’s hiring in several cities, including Jacksonville, in order to assist Floridians faster.

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Gayle Coleman got laid off March 17 from her part-time job at a Clay County nonprofit.

“That little part-time money was helping put food on my table and paying my bills,” Coleman said.

Coleman, who’s a veteran of the Coast Guard, said she’s even had to pawn off a piece of jewelry with sentimental value.

“I had to pawn a ring just to try to get some, you know, try to have a little bit of money in my savings account where I could use my debit card,” Coleman said.

She’s one of many Floridians who haven’t been able to file for reemployment assistance.

In Desmond Alston’s case, the state website kept crashing on him.

“It would let me go to a new application, type in my Social (Security number), my first name and then it would send me back to file a new claim,” Alston said. “I gave it three tries; I tried the next hour and still didn’t work.”

Action News Jax tried calling the 1-800 number listed on the door at the CareerSource Northeast Florida office on Beach Boulevard, but a machine immediately answered saying the office couldn’t assist and then hung up.

The state said if you have trouble filing your claim, try again later.

Coleman worries about falling behind on her bills.

“I just turned 60. It’s one of my biggest fears. I have been homeless before,” Coleman said.

According to employees at CareerSource Northeast Florida, whom we spotted at the office collecting equipment to work from home, you may have better luck calling 904-356-JOBS.

The employees said many of them are helping answer calls from home to help with the volume.

The phone line is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Coronavirus: Local unemployment filing problems