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Florida unemployment system making progress

(WCAX)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 5:23 PM CDT
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Florida is making progress paying unemployment claims, but the system remains far from perfect.

The outcry is continuing over unpaid claims.

One out of nine working Floridians has now filed for unemployment as the number of unique claims tops one million.

Since April 15th, when new leadership took over, 438,000 claims have been paid.

That’s ten times more than in the previous four weeks.

“The numbers are starting to look much better,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

But the number of claims paid amounts to just under 46 percent of the unique claims submitted.

“The two main issues that were causing complaints are pin problems and the unavailability of a link for certain claim weeks,” said former DEO Director Jesse Panuccio.

That quote is from 2013, but it still rings true with users today.

Now, the Governor has ordered his inspector general to investigate why the system costs so much and delivers so little.

“The total amount of costs were $77.9 million. The contract was amended 14 different times during this,” said DeSantis.

In a written statement, Deloitte who contracted with the state for the system told us:

”Florida is a state in which Deloitte has made significant investments to strengthen the economy and contribute to the communities in which thousands of our professionals live and work. We care deeply about our Florida clients and the people they serve. We built the CONNECT system to comply with Florida’s specific requirements and the state accepted the system. When we completed our work in 2015, CONNECT was vastly outperforming the systems it replaced and accurately processing reemployment assistance claims faster than ever before. All IT systems require ongoing maintenance, and since Deloitte has not worked on CONNECT in five years, we do not know how, or even if, the technology has been maintained. What we do know is that other IT systems we developed are performing well during this unprecedented surge in demand, and we are currently working collaboratively with several states to provide critical benefits to millions of workers and their families.”

If your claim is still pending, we are told it could be because there is a problem with your social security number, your boss hasn’t verified your wages, your address is out of state, or they suspect fraud.

Meanwhile, Twitter is blowing up with angry unemployed residents.

The Governor said that’s one way to get the agency’s attention.

“When the agency sees folks who get quoted in the press or so some stuff on social media about it, they will actually look up and try to find the individuals in the system,” said DeSantis.

And the Governor advises you to call the helpline as a last resort.

The number is 1-833-352-7759.

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