TAMPA, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state is taking several steps to fix Florida’s overwhelmed unemployment system, starting with what he called a "huge effort" to beef up the application website.
Over the weekend, DeSantis said, 72 new servers were added to the online application system.
“They had to go in the middle of the night and bring them up from Orlando to increase capacity for the website,” DeSantis said at a Monday morning coronavirus roundtable in Tallahassee.
The governor did not say how many servers were previously powering the site, but he said the site should now be able to handle up to 120,000 simultaneous users. Before, he said, 40,000 to 60,000 users would cause the site to crash.
“That may have been OK in 1996, but not in 2020,” he added.
Engineers also discovered that the backup system, meant to pick up the slack if the main site went down, had never been properly hooked up. It should now be correctly configured, DeSantis said, providing another layer of support as more and more Floridians file claims.
The website and the call center have both been overwhelmed by new applicants who were forced to file for unemployment benefits as coronavirus-related shutdowns led businesses around the state to furlough and lay off workers.
The governor says more servers will likely be added as the pandemic continues.
Offline, DeSantis said, hundreds of new customer service call-center representatives began training over the weekend. Normally, training lasts for three weeks but 250 new call center employees began work Monday morning and another 500 are expected to start Tuesday.
Elsewhere, an additional 2,000 state employees, working from home, are being reassigned to help process unemployment claims. The system to handle that will be coming online this week, the governor said.
“I want to thank them for their willingness to serve their fellow Floridians in this time of need,” DeSantis added.
A paper application system is now available. For the paper application in English, visit http://www.floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/paper-applications/reemployment-assistance-application-eng.pdf?sfvrsn=9f1d47b0_6.
For the paper application information page, visit http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/rapaperapplication.
For information about Florida's unemployment program and to apply online, visit http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/rapaperapplication.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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