Hillsborough County is providing out-of-work residents with paper applications to assist with efforts to get unemployment benefits to those who need it.
The county opened drive-through sites at the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library at 3910 S. Manhattan Ave., and the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library at 2902 W. Bearss Ave.
The locations are open for drop-offs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Libraries are otherwise closed. The county also will accept completed applications and will mail them to the state on behalf of residents.
The number of jobless residents overwhelmed the site, leading to crashes, log-in errors and the infamous “PIN reset” problem, each blocking claimants from completing the application process. DEO phone lines have been similarly overwhelmed, further frustrating applicants.
The state has taken steps to increase the website’s capacity, recently launching a mobile-friendly auxiliary site and lassoing more servers. Last Monday, the department said it was able to handle 120,000 simultaneous applicants and said more server capacity was incoming.
The website problems have led some elected leaders to call for a federal audit of the system. Democratic lawmakers have also asked for the state to backdate benefits and increase their duration to 26 weeks.
The current max benefit is $275 a week for 12 weeks, one of the lowest payouts in the nation.
Paper applications are available on the DEO’s website in English, Spanish and Creole.
To apply using the paper form, simply fill it out and mail it to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at P.O. Box 5350, Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350.