TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for an investigation into Florida’s broken unemployment system. During a press conference Friday he called fixing the system his “top priority.”
This comes after thousands of seemingly eligible applicants were rejected, only to be told earlier this week to reapply earlier if they first filed prior to April 5th.
Applicants with pending claims who filed in that same time frame, including some as early as mid-March, now want to know if they will need to reapply as well.
Natalie Gillespie is one of those claimants stuck in “pending purgatory.” She filed her claim on March 29 after getting laid off from the airline industry. It’s been pending ever since.
But her husband, who had the same job and filed on the same computer the very same day, was approved nearly two weeks ago.
“There aren’t any issues on it, it’s not asking me for identity claim, it’s not asking for any information,” Gillespie explained. “It just says pending every single day.”
Thousands of unemployment seekers were kicked out of the system Monday due to an apparent glitch in the system. The state told those applicants if they applied before April 5, they needed to re-apply as a new fiscal quarter had begun.
That’s why Gillespie and others in her position wonder if they too need to re-apply, as they filed in a previous quarter.
However, unlike the denied applicants, those stuck with pending claims have no recourse. They cannot reapply, and they cannot appeal.
8 On Your Side has repeatedly asked the Department of Economic Opportunity to clarify the concern. We are still waiting for a response.
Secretary John Satter, who is now at the helm of the state’s sinking unemployment system, answered questions in a Facebook Live stream Thursday night but did not address this concern.
Satter has not returned 8 On Your Side’s requests for an interview.
“At this point, it feels like we will be reopened before there’s any resolution,” Gillespie said.
The state announced Friday it extended a waiver on certain unemployment requirements, like having to show you’re actively seeking work. That lasts through May 9.
The state also launched a portal for anyone who filed a claim who would like to request to modify their claim filing effective date. Those interested can file the claim they should visit the Florida Jobs website and select the link “Request to Modify Claim (Application) Filing Effective Date.”
The DEO also said Friday the state’s CONNECT unemployment website will be down again this weekend through 8 a.m. Monday.
Anyone who has questions about their claim are instructed to call 1-833 FL APPLY (1-833-352-7759) from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday. General questions that are not claim-specific can be answered from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Sunday.
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