Florida’s unemployment website Connect will be down Friday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s unemployment website Connect will be unavailable Friday to process claims, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The DEO announced Thursday afternoon the reemployment assistance customer service center and the Connect portal would be down for all of Friday, March 26. The website will be down as the DEO works to process pandemic unemployment assistance benefits made available through the most recent federal coronavirus relief bill. It is the first time that weekly applications for jobless aid have fallen below 700,000 since mid-March of last year. Since last March, the Florida DEO has processed more than 5 million claims seeking unemployment benefits and paid out more than $24 billion to claimants, much of that from federal funding.
Scammers targeting Florida residents seeking unemployment benefits
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is warning people about a scam targeting people seeking unemployment benefits due to the coronavirus pandemic. The DEO handles the state’s unemployment benefits, or payments, and has been slammed since March because of financial fallout from COVID-19. This is a scam,” the DEO warned, adding the scam email may come from an email address ending in .ULF.edu. Under a new coronavirus relief bill signed by President Trump this week pandemic unemployment benefits have been extended. Since March, the DEO has paid out more than $19.7 billion in unemployment benefits.
Contractor Deloitte distances itself from Florida’s troubled unemployment system
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After facing weeks of criticism because of Florida’s troubled unemployment system, Deloitte Consulting LLP said in a newly filed court document that it has had “no connection” to the online system in more than five years. Deloitte had a state contract to develop the CONNECT unemployment system, which began operating in 2013. “Deloitte has had no involvement in the implementation, maintenance or upgrade of the CONNECT system for more than five years,” the company’s attorneys wrote in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. “And it has never had any involvement in processing or adjudicating the state’s unemployment benefit claims, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CONNECT system was not able to handle the surge of applications, forcing the state to scramble to try to shore up the claims process ---- and leading Gov.
Furloughed Epcot worker waiting for unemployment benefits living on canned vegetables, help from friends
ORLANDO, Fla. – Dan Crowder’s wait for unemployment benefits has turned into a 8-week test of endurance as the furloughed Disney worker waits for his first check from the Florida Department of Employment Opportunity. By April 19, an estimated 43,000 Disney World employees were out of work with health benefits still covered by the entertainment giant. Disney employees furloughed due to closures were automatically enrolled in Florida’s unemployment system known as CONNECT. Crowder’s wait for benefits seems to reflect the frustration hundreds of people have reported their benefits are “pending” without explanation. If you would like to help Dan Crowder or you have an unemployment issue email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data breach exposes Social Security info of some Floridians seeking unemployment benefits
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida agency that handles unemployment benefits said they recently had a “data security incident” that may have compromised information from Floridians seeking unemployment. The incident exposed full names and Social Security numbers of some people who have applied for unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. The Department of Economic Opportunity said they had to deal with a data security incident associated with reemployment assistance claims, otherwise known as unemployment benefits, according to the DEO. When people apply for unemployment benefits they must include personal information, including names, addresses, and social security numbers. How did the security incident happen?
New jobless claims in Florida stabilize week to week
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Floridians filed 223,927 jobless claims last week, compared to 223,082 claims filed in the previous week. Only California and New York had more new claims filed last week. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has received more than 2 million claims seeking unemployment benefits from Floridians, though only 1.6 million claims have been verified. Just under 1 million jobless workers in Florida have been paid more than $2.6 billion in benefits. Florida's workforce before pandemic-related business closures stood at 10 million workers.
Florida unemployment system flip flop leaves medical assistant without benefits but coworkers receive payments
Two months after being furloughed from her position with a mobile ultrasound service Meagan Johnson, a veteran medical assistant, said she still has no unemployment benefits from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. I have bills, I keep calling trying to get them postponed.”Johnson has worked for Life Line Screening for 7 years. “The day it turned ineligible was the day the rest of my co-workers got paid," she said. "Power ,water, mortgage rent and car payment.”Hecht said this will be a new experience for a workforce that has never experienced unemployment before. If you would like to help Meagan Johnson or you have an unemployment issue to share email News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld email@example.com.
Gov. DeSantis blames paperwork problems on Florida unpaid unemployment claims
Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications. DeSantis said forms often lack Social Security numbers or information about wages earned when the applicants were employed or they improperly list reasons for people being out of work. Senate Democrats were expected Monday afternoon to deliver to DeSantis’ office information about more than 1,000 applicants who have been waiting for unemployment benefits. DeSantis said Monday that after work over the weekend, 97 percent of the unique and valid applicants have drawn state or federal benefits. The department in a Sunday recap also reported 43,813 claims have come from out of state, and fraud has been detected in 32,221 cases.
Florida unemployment call center workers hit roadblocks trying to help unemployed, lawmaker says
News 6 could not independently authenticate the messages, which Pizzo said he obtained from a call center worker known to him. They are a Disney employee,” the unidentified call center worker wrote in the electronic message. Since late March, DEO has been able to add more than additional nearly 6,000 contact center representatives through our contracted contact centers and our DEO team members. "To understand the volume of calls DEO receives, the week ending March 8, DEO received 28,000 calls and the week ending March 14, DEO received 224,000 calls. "DEO has mandated to all contact center vendors that all contact center representatives should be Floridians.
Judge grants Florida’s request to dismiss lawsuit over unemployment backlog
A judge granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Florida and its unemployment benefit system operators Wednesday. The lawsuit was filed by attorneys representing Floridians who are waiting for unemployment payments due to the coronavirus fallout. Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey listened to attorneys for Florida defend the steps the state has taken to get the flawed CONNECT system working and processing payments and applications. DeSantis has previously called the CONNECT system a “clunker” and said it wasn’t designed to withstand even a small surge. Morgan said he wouldn’t charge the state anything for his firm’s work, and any money from the lawsuit should go to the unemployed.
Questions about Florida unemployment? Here’s your chance to ask
On Thursday, two state senators will host a Facebook live with the official overseeing the state’s coronavirus unemployment response. The Facebook live will likely be flooded with questions for Department of Management Services Secretary John Satter. Ron DeSantis appointed Satter to step in and oversee the state’s unemployment surge. The state has paid more than $579 million in unemployment, more than half funded by federal pandemic aid. News 6 will also be listening in Thursday hoping to get responses to many unanswered questions.
Florida DEO limits number of people able to access CONNECT unemployment site
— Florida DEO (@FLDEO) April 29, 2020People have reported issues accessing their CONNECT account or attempting to re-apply for pandemic unemployment assistance benefits on the website Tuesday and Wednesday. According to the DEO, the CONNECT system updates once a day and due to nightly maintenance processing claims the system is only available from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. More than 404,000 payments have been made totaling $553 million as of Tuesday evening, the last time the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity dashboard was updated. Satter, Florida Department of Management Services secretary, was tapped by the governor to lead the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity through its coronavirus unemployment surge. In a request for answers about the CONNECT issues some users reported to News 6 the DEO had not responded as of this report.