Florida unemployment: What’s being done to fix state’s overwhelmed system?

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the coronavirus crisis in the United States leads to higher job loss rates, Florida’s unemployment system has been unable to keep up with the amount of claims coming in.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials have addressed the issue, saying they are making changes to help. Here’s what’s being done:

Adding servers

Gov. DeSantis announced Monday the Department of Economic Opportunity installed 72 new servers to improve its reemployment assistance program.

According to DeSantis, the system can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connections by Floridians who are filing claims. He says the servers allow for a far greater capacity than the 20,000 connections the system was having difficulty with just a week ago.

Introducing paper applications

The DEO published a paper application on its website over the weekend. Until now, applicants could only submit claims via phone or online.

The paper application can be completed and mailed in, giving applicants another option if they can’t get through online or by phone.

Call center improvements

The DEO trained more than 200 people to start answering calls as of Monday. More than 700 additional people will be trained throughout the week to help answer calls for reemployment assistance.

Coordinating with other departments

Florida’s Department of Management Services has enlisted the help of more than 2,300 state employees who have volunteered to help the DEO. The Department of Revenue also mobilized 579 employees to support the DEO.

The additional employees will help with calls, data entry and citizen services. The DOR employees will be helping with the final steps before applicants are sent their reemployment assistance payments.

The DMS is also working to provide support for technology and telecommunications capacity. The DMS and DEO are working together to establish virtual desktop support and other workflow processes to serve an estimated one million Floridians who are being impacted by the pandemic.

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