TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News) – Florida’s unemployment system went back online Monday after three days offline to process claims and be upgraded.
The state’s unemployment technology has been called “a jalopy” or “clunker” by current Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The system was never designed to manage the crush of applications it is seeing now, but from the day the system was turned on, it has had major problems. It was a disaster when it launched in late 2013.
“We’re catching half of the calls, more or less, in week three. Is that correct?” Sen. Ed Hooper asked Jennifer Blume with Deloitte – the company that built the site – back in 2013.
“That’s what’s depicted on the slide, yes sir,” Blume replied.
Back then, Deloitte told lawmakers that Gov. Rick Scott’s administration added 1,500 special requirements.
The company is now being sued by three unemployed Floridians who have waited weeks for a check.
“This system was designed to fail and we have a number of people over the course of this litigation that will come forward and testify to that under oath,” Attorney Gautier Kitchen said.
Gov. DeSantis, who inherited the system, agrees.
“It was designed with all these different things to basically fail, I think,” said DeSantis.
The system has routinely failed state audits, going back to 2015.
The question we want to ask is why anybody would build a system to fail. We called the office of Rick Scott, who is now a U.S. senator, but received no response.
The lawyers behind the suit think taxpayers got bamboozled.
“They wanted the numbers down. They wanted it for a number of reasons. They wanted to bring corporate insurance down for unemployment claims. And there are people who are going to testify to this,” Kitchen said.
At $275 a week for just 12 weeks, Florida has some of the stingiest benefits in the country. Limiting benefits to 12 weeks was also adopted under Scott’s leadership.