Broward News

Call Centers Overwhelmed With Floridians Needing Public Assistance

You know things are bad when the people who are paid to help the folks applying for public assistance need help themselves.

More than five million Americans are seeking unemployment benefits, the most since records of such things have been kept. Now Florida call centers (not pictured here) have been overwhelmed by callers who have lost their jobs and need help with applications for public services like food stamps, according to a report in The New York Times.

From the story:

"Every day, 250 operators in Florida receive up to 150,000 calls, roughly a 40 percent increase over last year. George H. Sheldon, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which runs the centers, has said he needs 288 more operators to meet the surging demand for help, especially with food stamps."

The news gets worse. Most people in Florida apply for the assistance online, so these are mostly just follow-up questions. And these centers don't even handle the questions about unemployment benefits.

So, if you're still unaffected by the current economic crisis, you're probably reading this from a yacht docked off the coast of a country our former President can't pronounce. If that's the case, please send money.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael J. Mooney