People trying to file for unemployment are getting desperate, and we're trying to get answers

Posted at 7:48 PM, Apr 01, 2020

NAPLES — Thousands of people across the state of Florida are jamming their keyboards, trying to submit a claim for unemployment, but it’s not working.

The state website,, is kicking people off, and so far, the governor doesn’t have an answer. On Wednessday, we spoke with Chris Girard in Naples. He's tired of hearing the same automated recording from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity he’s listened to every day for the last three weeks.

“I kind of knew this was coming, so I filed on the 12th actually, and since then, I’ve been calling pretty much every day and trying to get online every day. I mean literally every 20 minutes, and it’s been just impossible," said Girard.

Girard had a bartending job at Southern Style Kitchen, a restaurant that’s had a closed sign on the door for the past two weeks. Now, Girard is getting desperate.

“I went to the Tree of Life Ministry up here today. You know what I got? Two loaves of bread and a thing of peanut butter so I can survive this week," said Girard.

The problems Girard is experiencing aren’t unusual. The FDEO tweeted that its site was down Tuesday, and it’s also putting out notices that it's looking for more staff. Our Scripps station in Tampa talked with an employment attorney who said the system was built to put people back to work, not pay out unemployment.

“There aren’t jobs for these people to get. So the entire orientation of the system doesn’t work, based on where we’re sitting right now," said attorney Ryan Barack.

The Governor addressed the problem in a press conference Tuesday, but without many answers.

“I think it’s a huge, huge problem. We’re going to work as fast as we can on it, but it is not something that’s going to happen where we’re going to be able to field and process these things overnight, just simply because of the magnitude of it," said DeSantis.

An answer like that is little solace to a man like Girard, who is still trying his best to get through.

“I’m a guy that works day to day, makes tips day to day, and that’s how I stay afloat and it’s just not happening right now. I need help," said Girard.