Gov. Ron DeSantis closed out the week defending the state’s recent changes to the unemployment application process.
However, he avoided multiple questions from this reporter regarding whether he would move to expand benefits, raising them from what arguably are the worst levels in the civilized world.
“Can I get a question from someone else,” an exasperated DeSantis asked.
A staffer said his office would provide clarification on the question he could have answered on a live mike. As of Saturday morning, however, that clarification has yet to be offered.
Newly unemployed Floridians are eligible for 13 weeks of unemployment, capped at $275 per week.
He would not address expanding the term to 26 weeks or beyond. And he seemed to believe that the federal $600 supplement was enough to augment Tallahassee’s miserly stipend.
“$900 a week,” DeSantis said, “can make a big difference.”
There are a lot of people for whom that theory will be tested: nearly 170,000 claimants in the last week, almost 500,000 in the last three.
DeSantis, in the ever-friendly Jacksonville media market, preferred instead to rehash elements of his administration’s “all hands on deck” approach, including describing website improvements and paper applications as he did in Tallahassee the day before to the state press corps.
The Governor did indicate that, despite the epic failure of the $77 million website, which he said earlier this month didn’t have the backup server connected, he was willing to let bygones be bygones and not play the blame game.
“I don’t think you need incrimination,” DeSantis said. “I was told by the agency three weeks ago when I said ‘beef up the call center’, they said ‘just go to the website,” the Governor added.
A fateful recommendation it was.
“They told me this website was great,” DeSantis said, potentially raising questions about other flawed guidance the Governor may be receiving.
“Well, obviously, it couldn’t handle this capacity, they were wrong,” DeSantis said, pointing to increased capacity and a “parallel site” that functions more like a webform than a web portal.
Though it can receive data, applications on the parallel site, as well as paper applications, will be hand-encoded by a battalion of 2,000 state workers, now on the front lines of fixing catastrophic unemployment insurance failures.
DeSantis described “an unprecedented amount of manpower,” noting that “these systems weren’t designed for this.”
DeSantis wants to get money out, but the application backlog suggests that is an aspirational goal.
He noted that even in normal times, applications take three weeks to process.
April 10, 2020 at 4:27 pm
It is so kind of the Dear Leader to not want to play the blame game, since it is he and his administration, along with the prior Administration, who are to blame.
April 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm
Can we find out what happens to the many like me that lost a job last yr & now again due to COVID19! How can I collect when I collected last year? I’ve tried applying online but it won’t let me & continued attempts (350) Calls to DEO leave me disconnected or not able to get thru!
April 10, 2020 at 8:33 pm
docs are treating the wrong disease…covid is not sars, it strips hemoglobin…like malaria..thats why Hydroxychloroquine works, ventilator does no good if their blood has been stripped of ability to carry oxygen!!!! no way to msg you on this site!!!
April 10, 2020 at 10:32 pm
Not at all suprised by DeSantis’ feeling exhasperated by so much attention being paid to him these days. So many questions flying at him. He’s expected to lead and be a problem solver. A pandemic? This is not what he signed up for. Terribly inconvenient for him. He’s featured on national news? Again? So ill-equipped for the job he has without a pandemic. He is no Einstein, has no attention span and the behavior of a petulant child.
So, as the 2nd worst Crisis Mgr, he has adopted the playbook from his mentor, with his permission of course. We call him Trump. The 1st worst Crisis Mgr. The likes of which we have never seen before.
*Lost your job and need benefits? You’ll take what you get and learn to live with such generosity. Can he have another question?
*Exposed to covid-19 and want to be tested? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.
*Have covid-19 symptoms and would like a test? Not enough symptoms. See previous answer.
*Knocking on deaths door but are still at home? See previous answer. You won’t be counted.
*In hospital gravely ill? No test for you and you won’t be counted in the data.
*Deceased? no test for you either and your death is more than likely not recorded as a covid-19 victim.
*Don’t ask him why only 0.5% of the State has been tested
*Where are his cabinet members, scientists and experts in all fields? What, no task forces formed to attack every aspect of this crisis?
*Is there enough necessary medical equipment,beds,staff, perhaps some I.T. folks to fix the unemployment sites? How about beefing up Medicaid? What is our curve, what is the estimated time of peak? He thinks out loud…huh?
*While trying to “sell” opening schools… NBD, there haven’t been any fatalities under the age of 25? Oh, wait. He meant none in Florida. Facts are so inconvenient.
Governor DeSantis, When can we expect a belated report on everything you and your administration is doing to attack this virus, lost jobs, healthcare, etc…
Transparency would be nice, too. Answer: Crickets.
April 13, 2020 at 11:24 am
It is Easter Sunday April 12, 2020 I have been furloughed now since March 20th 2020, my last day to work was on March 17th 2020. It has been 23 days since I applied for my unemployment benefits in my state of Florida which I was instructed to do so by my hotel employer. With great frustration being constantly kicked off the states website receiving error messages after error message 8 hours later it seemed like I got the application done.
Well not exactly, see I have been checking daily, I have had the website ask for proof of identity, listed is a previous employer from 13 years ago which now is being questioned by the unemployment dept. about my employment status, meanwhile I input all my current employers information from my W-2 which was in fact the employer who furloughed me on March 20, 2020. This website also has my monetary status as pending for over 3 weeks. It also has my claim status as active.
The big question here is why haven’t I received my benefits, why have New Yorkers already received their third check and here in Florida our workers have not even received our first check. Looking further into this dysfunctional, fiasco called the DEO I find this problem has been going on for YEARS.
State auditors warned Gov. Ron DeSantis last year that Florida’s unemployment website was still suffering major problems, including glitches, error messages and other problems that thousands of Floridians are now experiencing.
In a damning 2019 report, auditors found that they had flagged all of the problems with the website in previous audits going back to 2015 — yet state officials had not made a serious attempt to fix them.
THIS REVEALS TO THE VOTERS IN FLORIDA THAT WE MUST DEEPLY CONSIDER WHO WE PLACE IN OFFICE, BECAUSE IT DOES MATTER GREATLY TO OUR FUTURE AS WELL AS OUR DAY TO DAY. IT IS APPARENT THAT THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS DO NOT CARE ABOUT US THE WORKERS, WORKERS HAVE NOT BEEN ON THEIR MINDS, WORKERS HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND IN THIS PANDEMIC. WORKERS ARE HUNGRY, WORKERS NEED TO PAY OUR BILLS. THIS IS UNAMERICAN AND INEXCUSABLE.
THIS SITUATION IN FLORIDA WITH THE UNEMPLOYMENT DEPT. IS AS INSIDIOUS AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ITSELF.
THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS WORK FOR US. THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM TAKING OUR TAX MONEY, YET THEY CANNOT GET THE SIMPLE JOB DONE. THEY ARE TO BUSY WITH OTHER MATTERS, TO DEAL WITH WORKERS CONCERNS. I AM CALLING FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY KEN LAWSON FOR HIS INCOMPETENCE, LEADING TO THE PAIN AND SUFFERING OF OUR FELLOW FLORIDIANS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.
FLORIDA VOTERS DO NOT PUT THESE PEOPLE IN OFFICE. REMEMBER YOUR TIME OF NEED AND REMEMBER THE LAGGING, SHAMELESS, LAME EXCUSES, FOR THIS STATE CABINET TO FINALLY COME TO ACTION AND PAY OUR WORKERS BENEFITS IN AN ALREADY UNACCEPTABLE UNTIMELY FASHION.
GOD BLESS AND HELP US ALL ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT HAVE LOST LOVED ONES DURING THIS HORRIFIC MOMENT IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY.
PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES AND EACH OTHER. PLEASE WE FLORIDIANS NEED HELP. FLORIDIANS COME TOGETHER SIGN PETITION MAKE THESE SO CALLED LEADERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND INACTIONS DURING THIS PANDEMIC.
April 11, 2020 at 11:03 am
It seems this governor’s talent is much like Trumps,’ look sharp for the cameras but not be able to utter more than a few syllables in response to any reporters questions and for sure do not provide any facts mainly because they wont make you look good. Both are hucksters out to con the uninitiated.
April 11, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Earlier this year I was starting to warm up to DeSantis, I thought maybe he was doing an OK job. Especially considering his cringy “I love Trump” election campaign… not anymore, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. He’s an embarrassment.
April 13, 2020 at 7:24 am
A complete failure of systems!!! This is a disgrace and an outrage!!! I’ve been waiting for 3 weeks now for some kind of communication from The Dept of Employment Opportunity (stupidest name ever, by the way) and have received None!! I received my income tax check BEfore my employment and I filed for UNEMPLOYMENT FIRST! DEsantis has revealed he is am inadequate leader, a poor public figure, a complete moron for even thinking about opening schools again… the list goes on and on and on. He will NOT have my vote again. DeSantis your losing votes after this kerfuffle! This whole state system has been buggered and he doesnt have the gall to place blame, hold people accountable and get this shit fixed! Poor leadership. Worse than Trump!
April 14, 2020 at 12:15 am
I think the frustration from dealing with this system was a contributing factor to my late husband’s suicide in 2013. He was not the only person to end their life over this fustercluck, as I read a news article later about another man that got tangled up in this mess and killed himself. People out there that vote republican, you own this disaster. I have no sympathy for you.
April 14, 2020 at 1:46 am
Just a terrible waiting game and an inexcusable response of I don’t want to blame. No sense of urgency and exactly what I expected out of a rich ultra right wing elitist. $875 does nothing to help a struggling family, especially when they can’t get the darn check. I hope everyone remembers how poorly Desantis and the rest of his cronnnies handled this crisis come next election.
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