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Oct. 1 ‘quarter change’ could usher in issues for Florida unemployment system

Florida Unemployment

TAMPA, FLA. (WFLA) — Oct. 1 is the start of a new fiscal quarter, which means if you’re out of work and collecting unemployment in Florida…buckle up.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is required to re-determine claimant eligibility each quarter. That’s because when the quarter changes, the base period in which benefits are determined changes too.

But what was previously a routine process has become far more problematic during the pandemic, with an unprecedented number of Floridians collecting unemployment.

The previous two quarter changes crashed the state’s CONNECT site, not equipped for the burden of re-processing hundreds of thousands of claims at once. Some claimants saw benefits interrupted after the last quarter change.

Further convoluting the process this time around is the addition of two federally-funded unemployment programs – PUA and PEUC – and sorting people into the appropriate category.

Unemployment advocate and community activist Vanessa Brito warns applicants to be patient.

“We’re going to see that notorious error message that happens every time there’s a ton of people on the system trying to do the same thing,” Brito warned. “If you’re trying to claim weeks, it will just bump you back.”

Applicants will need to fill out a quick questionnaire the next time they log on to claim weeks.

Brito suggests applicants only access CONNECT on the day they must claim weeks in order to ease some of the overload.

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