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Paper unemployment applications offer hope for frustrated Florida workers

FedEx offers free overnight shipping
Susan DiGiovanni
Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 19:21:34-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With the introduction of paper applications, there is a glimmer of hope for Florida workers struggling to file for unemployment benefits.

Many unemployed Palm Beach County workers, fed up with the state’s computer system, headed Wednesday to FedEx stores to pickup unemployment applications.

FedEx locations across Florida are supplying the paper applications and shipping them free of charge overnight to the Department of Economic Opportunity in Tallahassee.

MORE: Florida lawmaker calls for special session to address unemployment crisis

“By the grace of God, I will get this one way or another,” said Susan DiGiovanni of Lantana.

She told WPTV on Wednesday that sending a paper application for unemployment by mail is the only way she can apply, unable to use the state's website like many others.

“Honest to God, the dear Lord in heaven, I was very excited. I started crying, and the first people I called is WPTV,” said DiGiovanni.

She said she found the paper application at the CareerSource Center near West Palm Beach located at 3400 Belvedere Rd.

DiGiovanni was among the lucky ones to find one because they have been going quickly.

“Absolutely awesome,” said Annette Bagwell outside a FedEx store in Boynton Beach.

One worker at the Boynton Beach location estimated as many as 200 applications went out on Wednesday.

Paper applications left near the door at the CareerSource Center were in short supply by 1 p.m.

“Nothing surprises me,” said Ron Reinhart, who found out there were only paper applications in Spanish and Creole.

South Florida U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala on Tuesday expressed concerns with the rush to the paper applications.

“The problem with paper is we have no accountability,” Shalala said.

But for many, filling out a paper application is proving to be better than filing for benefits on the state’s website.

“Right about now, yes, because you get on that computer, it just throws you out,” said Faye Jackson outside a FedEx store in West Palm Beach.

To apply for unemployment benefits in Florida, click here or call Florida's Claims Assistance Center at 1-800-204-2418.

If you are having trouble accessing the online application, click here to download a Florida Reemployment Assistance Application and mail it to the following address:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
P.O. Box 5350
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350