FLORIDA - You've heard Governor Rick Scott's mantra, "let's get to work." He wants Floridians to receive unemployment compensation for as little time as possible, which means the state is watching much more closely, who is and isn't searching for work.
For the first time in 3 decades, Ken Truckenmiller of Fort Myers is on unemployment. "Nobody can live on $275 a week," Truckenmiller said. "I can't. I mean, you have to look for work. I have to."
Last month, he lost a sales job he held for 15 years. Finding new work has been a challenge. "It seems like every day you go on there, it's the same jobs," Truckenmiller said. "There's no, 'oh there's a new one, I'll check that out.'"
But, he's trying. And the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation is now randomly calling on 6,000 claimants each week to make sure they are too.
"We contact the claimant, we contact the employer, we verify information is accurate," agency Spokesperson Robby Cunningham said. "As of last Friday, we made contact with more than 106,000 claimants, more 56,000 employers, and more than 23,000 of those claimants have been held ineligible because they didn't provide sufficient work search contacts
If you can't provide details like employers' names, phone numbers, and dates of contact, your benefits could be gone. So far, it's saved Florida more than $8 million. And proposed House Bill 7005 could soon require claimants to contact at least 5 employers per week.
"It's only fair to the people that are paying for those that are unemployed that anybody that is receiving any unemployment benefits are making sure they are looking for a job," Governor Rick Scott said.
Deep down, Ken Truckenmiller is a passionate Colts fan - both the team and the animal. He's hoping this job hunt will eventually lead him to the stables.
"I had applied for I think, 2-3 jobs at the horse center," Truckenmiller said. "That's the one that called me back. When one window closes, hopefully another one will open."
In the last few months, the number of new claims in Florida have decreased, allowing the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation to put more manpower into verification. House bill 7005 would also tie the duration of benefits directly to the unemployment rate. So as the rate falls, so would number of available weeks for benefits.