Coronavirus pandemic contributing to rising local unemployment

MIAMI (WSVN) - Before the outbreak of coronavirus, Florida had one of the lowest state unemployment rates in the country.

People who find themselves in need of unemployment benefits are finding it more and more difficult to obtain them.

With baseball and other sports suspending their seasons, employees of various arenas are facing unemployment.

Jason Silverman, a suite attendant at Marlins Park, was told to apply for unemployment benefits until the season resumes.

Silverman said, “I’ve tried to get online at least 25 times to fill out the application and the phone probably at least 25, 50 times.

Mark Salmon, a restaurant worker who recently lost his job said, “You can’t get through. They’re always busy. You’re only going to get their automated machine on.”

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis said the average unemployment claim per day used to be between 250 to 1,000.

Desantis said, “21,000 unemployment claims yesterday; 18,000 the day before.”

Desantis said nobody saw this coming. “So this is a huge increase, and it just shows you how so many people have been dislocated. We’re working on getting them the relief, and we want the federal government to do stuff as well.”

To file for benefits, all claims must be completed online at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.

A video outlines how it should be an easy process.

Those who are eligible need their social security number, a driver’s license or other government issued I.D. and detailed information on your last 18 months of work.

The amount of money received depends on the amount of money you’ve earned and the amount of time worked.

Unemployed workers usually receive between $32 and $275 a week, but the overload on the system is causing frustration as bills build up.

Salmon said, “Money’s getting short, so I need some kind of help.”

Silverman said, “During a time like this, I don’t have any money coming in, so it’s a burden, and then once you try to go apply for unemployment, it’s kind of like they’re not letting you do it, so there’s not much you can do.”

Desantis announced Wednesday afternoon that the agency will hire more people to keep up with the growing demand.

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