Florida unemployment agency will ask for $5M to hire staff as claims remain unresolved for 6 months or more

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s unemployment agency will ask lawmakers for $5 million during the upcoming legislative session to hire roughly 100 additional employees to tackle the increase and complexity of pandemic-related claims.

“The additional staff will help meet the current needs of the program and our customers,” a Department of Economic Opportunity spokesperson wrote in a statement to 8 On Your Side.

Recently-appointed DEO Director Dane Eagle called hiring additional staff trained to process the complicated claims put aside due to high volume “a priority” when he spoke with us in early October. But with the legislature not in session until March, those hires won’t be made until next year, even if the money is approved.

Bill McVey of Hernando County says he’s one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of laid-off workers whose been waiting six months for benefits and says he can’t wait another six months. For 22 years, McVey was a sales executive at Lazydays RV in Seffner. But then came the pandemic in March and, at 73 years old, concerns about his health.

“I asked them to work from home and they said I couldn’t do that,” McVey explained. “I was laid off the next

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