TAMPA, Fla. - Florida’s unemployment system has been plagued with problems. Now, Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants an investigation into the origins of the website, which was built under Rick Scott's administration for $77 million.
Meanwhile, jobless Floridians say they are at the end of their ropes as they face the first of the month, many for the second time, without a paycheck for nearly 7 weeks.
Protests in Tampa included “I am losing my home, I am borrowing money from family to get groceries,” said Julia Shear.
Folks fed up with a lack of answers rallied Friday in Tampa. Protestors say they deserve more than six-weeks of jumping through hoops and pending claims with the department of economic opportunity.
“I’m very upset I have spent many hours on the computer, sleepless nights trying to get on just for it to shut down or boot us out,” Fiona Orourke said.
Earlier this week, scores of unemployment seekers were deemed ineligible. Then told by the State anyone who applied before April 5 would need to file again because it’s a new fiscal quarter.
“The system had a lot of problems, it couldn’t hold up, it got overwhelmed, I had to bring in engineers to effectively rebuild it,” Governor Ron DeSantis said.
Friday, the agency announced unemployment seekers with claims that have been processed still don’t need to do online work registration and work search requirements, they’ve been waived through May 9.
According to the DEO, more than 426,000 people have been paid since the middle of March. That is more than 100,000 unemployment claims paid out for all of 2019.
Still, hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers haven’t received any benefits.
“People have not had any money for seven weeks or more,” Orourke said.
Now the Governor wants to take a closer look at what caused the unemployment system to sink.
“You go back four weeks, the system was in tatters, people couldn’t even get on,” he said. “There’s gonna be a whole investigation that’s gonna need to be done about how the state of Florida coulda paid $77-million for this thing however many years ago they did.”
Officials say the unemployment CONNECT site will be down again this weekend so the state can process claims and make payments. It should be back up and running by 8 a.m. Monday.
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