State's unemployment website top priority for Gov. DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Governor Ron DeSantis calls fixing the website for people to apply for unemployment is his number one priority right now and is throwing people, money and old and new technology at the problem.

Governor DeSantis said his top priority is ensuring the state's unemployment website can keep up with the high volume of claims being filed by Floridians out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (MGN)

Since the COVID-19 crisis hit, 396,000 people have filed for unemployment.

Compare that to just under 308,000 claims filed in all of 2019.

The agency also took over two million calls in the last thee weeks.

“I think this requires all hands on deck,” said DeSantis.

Up to 200 state employees from other agencies are being re-assigned to help answer phones and process claims.

“We are working right now to identify who those people are and we are going to begin training them next week across the state. In addition, he has provide us the ability to take paper applications, so we are going to be posting that later today, so individuals can print the application, fill it out, and mail it back to us,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Communications Director Tiffany Vause.

A new mobile app to help people file for unemployment could be available as early as this weekend or as late as Tuesday.

And the $77 million computerized claim system that has had problems since it was built in 2013 is getting a makeover.

“I think that will take about two weeks for us to get the folks on staff and get them going, but we are working on some interim solutions,” said Vause.

The Governor’s message: Spare no cost.

“I wish I could say this is something that will last just a couple weeks, but I think this is not something that you can just turn on and off an economy like this,” said DeSantis.

And as the claims mount, the Governor has also suspended all evictions and foreclosures for the next 45 days.

Paper applications for download will be available online at Floridajobs.org and CareerSourceFlorida.com by the end of the day Friday.