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Problems continue to plague Florida's unemployment benefits program

Unemployment letters (WFTV)
Unemployment letters (WFTV)
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Updated: 12/04/2013 1:41 pm
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFTV) -- Thousands of unemployed Floridians are looking for answers from Governor Rick Scott about what's being done to fix problems with the state's unemployment benefits system.  

WFTV reporter Lori Brown reached out to the governor's office with questions about the status of the program. In both cases the office sent statements that talked about job growth, but had nothing to do with unemployment benefits or a plan to solve the problems.

One unemployed resident said his problem is receiving too much mail from the re-employment office and no benefits. When Howard Parsons went to his mailbox a few days ago, it was stuffed with not two or three letters from the department, but 23.

"When I first saw all of the envelopes I had no idea what was going on," Parsons said.

Each letter was exactly the same.

"Just to me alone the postage was $8.83... just to me," Parsons said.

If the mistake was repeated with just a fraction of the people on unemployment, the cost would be more than $1 million.

"To see them wasting enough money to help several thousand people, it really gets frustrating," Parsons said.

Scott's name is at the top of each letter. But so far he's been silent on the problems plaguing Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity. Since the department launched a new $63 million website, thousands have struggled to submit claims.

Unemployed residents have been flooding the call center, making it nearly impossible to reach a live person.

Parsons, who is a former information technology manager, said the system error that caused this likely sent out a similar stack of mail to many others.

"I'm willing to bet I'm one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people this has happened to," Parsons said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Economic Opportunity said they're looking into what caused the problem, but it does not appear to be widespread.
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