MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – “I’ve been trying to do unemployment online and I couldn’t get through,” said Joanne Bullock, who was one of the many people Thursday at North Dade Regional Library, picking up a paper application.
The numbers are staggering since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered so many businesses. Over 169,885 people in Florida filed for unemployment just last week.
Bullock has a story like many people in Florida about trying to file for benefits online. “After I got through, it blocked me out.”
A steady stream of people were at the North Dade Regional Library Thursday getting the hard-copy paper to fill out and then dropping it in the library book box, where they will then be collected and sent on to Tallahassee.
Twenty six libraries in Miami-Dade County began distributing printed copies of re-employment assistance on Wednesday.
The applications, in English, Spanish and Creole, are available for pickup outside the library entrances from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice, according to the county. Broward County’s libraries say they are considering a similar service.
Residents can take the application home if they do not want to fill it out onsite and drop it off in the library location’s book drop, which are now being used to accept the applications.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, P.O. Box 5350, Tallahassee, FL. 32314-5350
Although the website was unable to handle the deluge of people trying to file for benefits online, The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity was working to hire more staff and add more computer servers to handle the increased demand. To find out more about employment benefits amid the pandemic. Click here for the details.
The state says, however, it will take longer to process a paper application that’s mailed in.
Marve Perry was at a Miami Gardens distribution site picking up food. “My husband just got laid off. I’m on disability and we have car payments and a house mortgage.”
Maxwell Chambers, Miramar’s vice mayor, said that families were already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic shut almost everything down. “This is just an additional burden.”