Struggle to apply for unemployment continues across the countryApril 9, 2020
By Victor Ordonez and Layne Winn
When Alex Rasky was forced to shut down his family-owned retail location in Florida, he quickly realized he would have to file for unemployment. It took time and patience, but he thought he had done everything right.
"I applied through Florida's website on March 20," he told ABC News. "Fast forward to today, my status is still pending."
Rasky says he cannot get in touch with anyone at Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity to check his application status -- and with the birth of his first child expected next month, Rasky is worried.
"We're going on three weeks with zero income," said Rasky. "The world in the state that's in is scary enough, but adding this financial fiasco to it all is extremely stressful."
Rasky was one of over 70,000 Floridians who applied for unemployment that week. The following week, over 270,000 more Floridians applied. In the span of those two weeks, nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment, a record high.
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment last week will be released Thursday morning, but the unprecedented influx in applications has already created a number of issues for those in dire need of benefits.
The DEO, like many other state labor departments, is overwhelmed. Numerous reports of its website crashing and its phone lines ringing empty are leaving people who desperately need unemployment benefits in limbo.
"We need help in Florida; people need to know what's going on here," said Rasky. There are those who have yet to successfully apply for unemployment, and others who continue to wait for their application to be approved.