ORLANDO, Fla. — Four thousand phone calls.
To be more specific, Paul and Julia Cox figure they called the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity 4,480 times between April 19, when Walt Disney World furloughed them, and June 7, when glitches with their state and federal unemployment benefits were finally sorted out.
“We were both calling about a hundred times a day for weeks trying to get through to somebody, anybody.”
— Paul Cox, a lighting, video and audio technician at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney world
The Coxes are among the lucky ones. While most people have received one-time stimulus payments from the federal government, UNITE HERE, a union representing 30,000 hospitality workers in the Orlando area, recently said that at least 1,500 of its members had yet to receive any unemployment payments from the state. Florida has been one of the slowest states to process jobless claims, in part because its system was designed to be arduous.