Unemployment Benefits Much More Difficult to Receive Than You May Think

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Most people know it's a difficult time to find a job right now.

But many of them don't know how tough it is to get unemployment benefits if you don't have a job.

It's much more complicated to earn them than you may think.

The crowd is much smaller on Friday at the One-Stop Career Center in Jackson County.

Employees say it's usually much busier especially since the economy has gone downhill.

Marianna native Christopher Baker stopped by to apply for an evening part-time job even though he already has a full-time one.

"I'm actually trying to get an extra job due to the economy. Everybody's raising their prices on everything," he says.

Baker's been searching for a second job for almost five months to support his four kids.

"It's gonna be hard, it's gonna be hard but I have to do what I can to help them have the things in life that they want."

The One-Stop Career Center has seen a big change in the number and type of people who apply for jobs.

Richard Williams, Executive Director of the Chipola Workforce Board, says they're seeing people with college degrees come in for the first time.

"Two years ago, we had employers beating down our doors and trying to find people. Employers were literally asking us, 'how can we get inmates?'"

He says they've seen a fifty percent increase since last year and the supply is now outweighing the demand.

"We were putting ribbons on companies, trying to convince people that these were the companies that you wanted to go to work for. Today, we're having to put ribbons on people and convince companies that these are the people that you want to hire."

The Center also helps people fill out a basic unemployment claim but they're not an unemployment agency.

"Florida doesn't have an unemployment office out in the field. Everything's done by the job or by telephone through the call center."

J.T. Brown filed one in-person two weeks ago because it was too difficult over-the-phone

He says he's trying to get benefits while he looks for another job after being injured at his last one.

"I'm hoping I'll be able to get it. I'm not sure but they sent me a paper saying that I'm eligible but I just haven't received it yet."

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, the state requires that you work for a certain amount of time, earning a certain amount of money within that period.

In Florida, less than 60% of those who apply for unemployment compensation receive it.

The basic requirements go even further regarding the conditions of unemployment.

On the fluidnow.com website, it states " we cannot advise you concerning eligibility prior to a claim being filed. Determinations concerning eligibility for benefits can only be made after a claim is filed."

As confusing as it may sound, people like Baker say they're hoping they won't have to deal with unemployment.

"I'm not familiar with it at all. Hopefully, I won't have to be familiar with it."

He's hoping he'll continue to be able to find employment so he can provide for his four kids.

Florida's unemployment benefits average $238 a week and those last for as long as 59 weeks.

If you would like more information about unemployment benefits, you can visit the Agency for Workforce Innovation's website, fluidnow.com, or call 850-204-2418.

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