Gov. DeSantis: Need to reapply for unemployment every two weeks eliminated

need-job unemployment
Governor said requiring individuals to reapply only stresses the system more.

With hundreds of thousands of Floridians still without unemployment assistance from the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Thursday to suspend the requirement for laid-off workers to confirm every two weeks that they are unemployed.

Having people come back to an already strained submission system once every two weeks provides an unnecessary strain, the Governor said. And with Department of Economic Opportunity Director Ken Lawson off the case, he continued to throw the director under the bus.

“This one, I didn’t think I needed to do an executive order for because the (U.S.) Labor Department has said this can be waived,” DeSantis told reporters. “The agency didn’t do it, so I had to force their hand to do it, and I think that that’ll make things move a little bit smoother.”

By the Governor’s order, 80,000 of the 850,000 Floridians in the queue will be able to receive their benefits. The rule was one step of the bureaucratic red tape the Governor initially wanted eliminated.

“If the system is suffering under too much stress, why would we want people to have to go on and recertify that? We know what the economy’s doing right now,” he said.

The Governor has already redirected a significant number of state employees from the Department of Management Services (DMS) to addressing problems with unemployment applications. On Wednesday, DeSantis put DMS Secretary Jonathan Satter in charge of the state’s unemployment response.

About 2,000 state workers who had previously specialized in areas of government far removed from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity will be tasked with data entry for applications coming in from across the state.

While he has expressed support for retroactive benefits, especially as individuals struggle to access applications, DeSantis has yet to answer questions about extending the term of unemployment past 12 weeks, nor has he discussed increasing the state’s maximum payout despite calls from Democrats.

People who have already maxed-out their unemployment benefits are still eligible for the federal government’s $600 checks starting to make their way to Americans. Satter said DMS will be rolling out a separate website for people who are ineligible for the state’s unemployment benefits to bypass the state’s system and get federal checks.

With the state’s submission system consistently going down at night for maintenance, the secretary compared it to a 7-year-old car. Those overnight fixes, sometimes 12 hours, have prevented some unemployed Floridians from submitting their applications.

“We’ve just loaded the car with a lot of passengers, and we’re expecting the car to drive 10 times as fast as it was built for, and so we occasionally have to take the car in for a pit stop,” Satter said. “It’s longer than we would like, but we would rather make incremental investments in the system now than over-promise and underdeliver.”

A fiscal memo released today by Senate President Bill Galvano painted a grim picture of the state of employment in the state. It showed in the last five weeks, 660,000 Floridians filed for unemployment, a number likely low given the myriad difficulties people have with applying.

Since mid-March, the state has sent 121,102 payments, nearly $50 million-worth, to 33,623 individuals who have filed for unemployment. With hundreds of thousands more still waiting for their direct deposit or debit card, the Governor said it’s not enough.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


10 comments

  • BlueHeron

    April 16, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    The need to re-apply every 2 weeks being eliminated is fantastic. Hopefully he will tell the servers and I/T ppl who haven’t yet processed and paid the online applications even once. Pending, pending, pending. Always pending. He needs to stop blaming the previous guy and make this happen asap. Given the volume, I want to see a well oiled machine cranking out X# per week, per day, whatever. He needs to stop acting tough while not really saying much. He wants to start the economy? This is one way to do it given the fact that every penny received by unemployment will be spent immediately. Not enough but…

  • Pedro

    April 17, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Yes I find its beyond comprehension that conservatives fail to understand that by disbursing benefits to people the funds are spread immediately into the economy, no trickle down here. I can only suppose they are sadist at heart.

  • Sam

    April 17, 2020 at 11:01 am

    It’s real cute that a “system” that is designed to humiliate people who become unemployed and let them know what losers they are is now being called upon to actually help people. The republicans totally own every single thing that goes on in state gov for the last 20+ years, with no exceptions or credible finger pointing possible. The voters should conduct themselves accordingly.

  • Simon

    April 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    For the majority of Florida’s jobless its still not working!

  • patti

    April 22, 2020 at 9:17 am

    I just don’t think the state seems to care that we don’t have any money for food and are going to be homeless soon. I have always been a republican, however after this COVID disaster, we definitely need to put a democrat in office. At least they care and are willing to help. The republicans are for the rich, the democrats are for the poor. 12 weeks if you can ever get it and being the lowest paid in the country!! Well you never see the money because it stays pending for 12 weeks!!! First time ever to try and collect, what a disaster…

  • arale normaki

    April 22, 2020 at 11:39 am

    after 5+ still pending and the web page is saying

    You have weeks that have not been requested. You may request benefit payments for the following weeks error

    so what happen to weeks that i requested is it missing now?

  • Christopher S Burden

    April 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Awful!! I filed on 3/15 and now it’s 4/23 and I haven’t seen a penny yet! My credit cards are getting full, and My bills adding up! I still get a message that I have to do the biweekly claim and it’s forces me to do the work search!! Also it shows me only getting paid $140 for 2 Weeks?? I try to call at all hours and the phone line hangs up on me!! I try to logon and get kicked off!! It takes me days to claim weeks!! I’m about to start selling things to make ends meet!!!

  • Phyllis B

    April 23, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    This new order does not specify whether people, like myself, who have been approved for unemployment but still work 1 or 2 hours a week for our employer and have to report the hours/gross pay when we “check in” every two weeks…Does this Executive Order apply to us?? Does anyone know the answer??
    I spent over 6 hours today trying to “Request” payment for the 2 week period so I could claim my worked hours only to be booted out every 2 to 5 minutes…and nothing saved so I would repeat the process over and over…and never got it completed!!! I have never had high blood pressure…until now!!

  • Johnathan H.

    April 27, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Do I still need to do the “request benefit week” thing? It’s not available on the website, like that option was removed. I was able to sign on at 08:15am, but now at 09:05am, it’s giving me a run time error.

  • Bryan

    April 27, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    The biweekly claim is not required any more. I hope that’s for the federal assistance as well.

Comments are closed.


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