LEE COUNTY, Fla -- Big changes are on the way for the unemployment benefit program in the state of Florida. Beginning Monday, several changes will take place.
It includes how you file claims and if you're collecting unemployment, you'll be required to contact five potential employers. Some said it's a way for Floridaians to get back to work while others say the law is set up to fail.
"My main concern is what am I going to eat the next couple of days?" said Carlos Ramous, who is unemployed.
Ramous has been out of work for over a year. He's frustrated that day after day, he's at the unemployment office, working to find work.
"Most of the jobs out here are $7.35 an hour. Try to work off $7.35 with a car loan, with a mortgage of $800 and two kids. How do you do it for $7.35 an hour?" said Ramous.
Ramous is just one of thousands of Floridians collecting benefits but beginning Monday, August 1, unemployment checks could be harder to come by.
It does make some people somewhat complacent," said Tom Joplin, general manager, Express Employment Professionals.
Joplin, the general manager of Express Employment Professionals in Ft Myers, said starting August 1, people are going to have to document their job hunt more extensively.
"To show that you are actively searching for a job instead of just the honor system more or less. They're going to have to say ok, I went to this company, this company, this company and this company last week to apply for these jobs," said Joplin.
Changes on the way include having to file claims online, entering information online from five potential employers a week, taking an online skills assessment test to get benefits and if you're getting severance pay, your pay per week can't equal or be greater than your weekly unemployment amount. Ramous said it's set up to fail.
"I can do five in one hour, less than that. Is that going to help? People are just going to apply for jobs that they know damn well they ain't going to get," said Ramous.
The unemployment rate for Florida as of June 2011 was 10.6%. Joplin hopes the new law gets people moving.
"To kind of put a little fire under their step a little bit to get back to work, to where they don't have that dependence on the state or the unemployment compensation," said Joplin.
As for Ramous, he'll be back at the unemployment office Monday morning, continuing to look for work, but he said he may have to look elsewhere soon.
"I'm going to have to leave Florida, where I've been here for nine years and love it, I'm going to have to leave," said Ramous.
For more information and the how the new law may affect you, visit www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/addtnl_UCReform.html