TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As state officials try to improve an unemployment application system that has left thousands of newly unemployed Floridians frustrated, new information is shedding light on a slow-moving process that doesn’t seem to be speeding up.
Out of around 850,000 unemployment applications that have flooded the state, only 33,623 applications had been processed between the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and Thursday evening. That’s just 3.9 percent.
Since March, the Department of Economic Opportunity made 121,102 payments to Floridians in re-employment assistance — 33,623 of which went to individual Floridians.
Only 3.95 percent of Florida’s unemployment applications have been processed by the state.Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Since the economy’s steep decline, the state has struggled to keep up with the influx of unemployment claims that disabled the state’s 100 servers dedicated to unemployment applications.
The state eventually resorted to paper applications and a new mobile-friendly website.
While there is still a significant backlog of 80,000 additional applications, the state is waiving some of the requirements for unemployment benefits. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on Thursday waiving the bi-weekly check-in required to recertify claims every two weeks.
Acknowledging that the executive order wasn’t a “silver bullet” to remedy the state’s unemployment debacle, DeSantis expressed hope that it would put less strain on the state’s CONNECT system.
“If the system is suffering under too much stress, why would we want people to have to go on and recertify that? We know what the economy is doing right now,” DeSantis said.
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