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The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made it easier for Floridians to access the Reemployment Assistance program and claim unemployment benefits.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DEO is seeing historic increases in Floridians filing for Reemployment Assistance. Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis directed DEO and other executive agencies to take all necessary actions to improve the assistance program.

To help the many Floridians who do not have access to a computer, Gov. DeSantis ordered paper assistance applications be made available for Floridians.

CareerSource locations across the state will be providing paper applications and assisting Floridians with submitting their Reemployment Assistance applications. The agency’s office in West Volusia is in Orange City’s Marketplace shopping center, 846 Saxon Blvd. Visit CareerSourceFlorida.com for more information and other center locations.

FedEx is offering free printing and mailing of Reemployment Assistance paper applications at more than 100 storefronts across the state.

Applications can be downloaded at FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19. Once the application is complete, individuals should mail it to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

P.O. Box 5350

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

To make it easier for Floridians to receive benefits, Gov. DeSantis also waived the usual waiting week so individuals can claim their very first week of Reemployment Assistance right away. DeSantis also waived the work search and work registration requirements so individuals filing for the assistance are not required to register with Employ Florida or submit information regarding the employers that they contacted each week.

DEO also has worked with the Department of Management Services to dramatically enhance the capability of the online application system for Reemployment Assistance, called CONNECT.

The agency has installed 72 new servers from the state’s backup data center in Winter Haven to increase capacity. The system can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connections by individuals filing claims. This allows for greater capacity than the 20,000 simultaneous connections that the system has been experiencing recently.

An additional 10 servers are being installed to assist the CONNECT system this week.

The Governor has been making resources available to assist with helping more Floridians as quickly as possible. Last week, DEO had nearly 200 staff working on the claims process for Reemployment Assistance.

Beginning April 7, more than 500 individuals began providing support for the Reemployment Assistance claims process through contracts with customer call centers, CareerSource center staff and state employees.

By next week, that number will more than double when additional contracted staff, state employees and local workforce development boards are added to the team.

The Florida Department of Revenue has provided DEO with 579 additional employees to begin processing Reemployment Assistance applications. This week, more than 2,300 state employees have volunteered to be available to answer calls, reply to emails and process applications.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, expands Reemployment Assistance benefits. DEO is working diligently to incorporate the new provisions of the CARES Act to ensure all Floridians who are eligible get their full amount of benefits.

The agency will issue additional information about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance as it becomes available.

Benefits will be paid from the date claimants became eligible under the CARES Act.

For more information about Reemployment Assistance benefits and how to apply, visit FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19.

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