Those seeking to file for unemployment benefit claims in the state of Florida got a chance to do so again Monday after the state’s website went offline this weekend amid an overflow of filings.
The Florida Department of Employment Opportunity’s CONNECT website system reopened at 8 a.m. on Monday after the weekend break while still "making payments and processing claims" while offline. Claimants could still register their information during the weekend.
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As unemployment surged during the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Florida ranked at or near the bottom of all states in its speed of processing those claims, federal data shows.
The state is already among the most inhospitable places to be unemployed, and the economic downturn has only added to the misery. Now Florida finds itself frantically trying to catch up as it lags behind other large states and neighbors in the South.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the launch of a new dashboard that would track the total number of reemployment assistance claims that had been submitted, verified, processed, and paid.
DeSantis also said that Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter would oversee the unemployment payment system.
“We understand the challenges to the CONNECT system have only added to the stress on Florida families, and my number one goal is to ensure Floridians in need of reemployment assistance get paid, quickly," Satter said in a statement last Monday.
"This will start with complete transparency, efficiently streamlining the reemployment assistance process, waiving all red tape and ensuring hurting Florida families have the aid they need to get through COVID-19."
From Sunday, March 15 to Sunday, April 19, the DEO said they've made 170,407 payments to Floridians in reemployment assistance benefits totaling $59,928,939. That includes 40,193 individual Floridians who applied for reemployment assistance benefits after March 15.