Fla Unemployment Application Requirements may disadvantage some

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-08 14:32:01-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)-- The Florida state agency in charge of dispersing unemployment benefits is in the process of streamlining application operations.

This is a move they say will save taxpayers money but a change that some in need of unemployment benefits say will make it harder to get help.

Right now in order to apply for unemployment benefits you have to have a computer and internet access, something that not everyone applying for benefits has.

“Come October, we'll be significantly enhanced, more technology, it will be streamlined and additionally it will allow reduce cost to taxpayers for the reemployment assistance program as a whole in Florida,” said James Miller with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Miller said this new system called Project Connect will be in place by October. He said the new web-based system is meant to upgrade their operations and to work with the latest technology.

“All the requirement for the email address does is it logs them into the Employ Florida marketplace job system which has thousands and thousands of jobs that might be available to them. Also, it allows our staff and our computer system to be able to email them jobs instantly rather than having to track them down on the phone or email,” said Miller.

But some residents seeking jobless benefits may lack easy access to the internet.

“It will affect some of those people who don't have transportation to get to those places.” Angelo Robinson most recently filed for unemployment in 2011. She said it would be more helpful to have the phone option as well.

“Sometimes if you don't have a phone at home you can always walk to a pay phone or something and call and it's still convenient,” she said.

But despite this, Robinson says the online process was simpler than the old paperwork.

“The paperwork is just so hard and it takes so long ‘cause if you write something wrong on the paperwork you have to do the paperwork all over again,” said Robinson.

But there will always be a call system in place for claimants struggling with the online claim process. Just call 1-800-204-2418.