Florida’s error-plagued unemployment website down until Monday morning

Unemployment benefits line in Las Vegas.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is calling for an investigation into the state's unemployment woes.

An error-riddled state website allowing Florida workers to file for unemployment is down until Monday, April 27 as the struggle to process those claims continues.

Applicants are redirected to a backup site where they can still file.

Floridians can also apply for benefits via a paper application set up to help mitigate the website’s struggles. But those looking to use the online portal at the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) website were unable to do so as of Friday.

Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, who was brought in last week to oversee the system, said the state will direct its resources over the weekend to getting more applications processed as the state maintains a massive backlog of benefit-seekers, much to the dismay of Florida Democrats.

“We needed all the processing power we could get, to process payments,” Satter said. “We have a number of large batch jobs that were ready. Rather than place a lot of drain on the system today and over the weekend, we said, ‘Let’s take it down. Let’s process as many payments as we can.’”

But Democrats saw the move as yet another bump in the road.

“There are no words,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith in posting about the website’s latest failure.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried called on Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate the system’s repeated failures.

“Unacceptable,” Fried wrote Friday. “I’m concerned that the site is down for 3 days and only 6.5% of claims have been paid. It’s time to investigate.”

A surge in unemployment applications caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak has strained the DEO site in recent weeks. Floridians have encountered myriad problems with the site, which have blocked them from applying for unemployment benefits online.

The DeSantis administration is working on other fixes, including by working directly with employers. Disney, for example, is working with the state to download a list of furloughed employees as it prepares to take more than 100,000 furloughed workers off the payroll Monday.

DeSantis said he’s open to similarly. working with other large-scale employers.

On Thursday, officials announced more than 500,000 Floridians had filed for unemployment in the previous week. That brings Florida’s total to more than 1.1 million claims in mid-March.

That total only accounts for individuals who were successfully able to navigate the site’s glitches or had access to paper applications. Some lawmakers have taken to providing those applications at their respective offices for individuals who do not have access to a printer.

Those currently seeking to apply at the DEO’s website are met with a message saying the online system is down until 8 a.m. on Monday, April 27.

An Associated Press report showed Florida was the slowest state in the country to process its unemployment claims and a recent analysis by Greg Angel of MyNews13 in Orlando shows that process has slowed even further recently.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has relaxed some requirements for receiving unemployment. Most recently, he said the state would backdate benefits to March 9 or the date an individual lost his or her job.

Still, many Democrats have called for further fixes to the system. U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell even asked the U.S. Department of Labor to step in to help streamline the applications.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


7 comments

  • Mike

    April 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Unemployment should be filed through a Federal portal; it is very easy to determine a State/Federal payout through one channel; let the States and Government hash out the fund allocation after those in need are paid first.

  • GWPCONCRETEMAN

    April 24, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    This article is the third one this week by the writer that promotes division within our Great State of FLORIDA elected officials during a NATIONAL EMERGENCY. The political propaganda spread this week on this platform has caused the comments to be removed from an article about the passing of one of Commissioner Fried’s Campaign staff members earlier this week. It is amazing that all the comments were removed on two separate days by this platform. Political propaganda is a very dangerous game that this platform is promoting during a NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Censorship by this platform is even more dangerous than the propaganda that it allows to be spread by the author of this Political hit job during a National Emergency. Solutions and the truth are a virtue that are lost on this platform. Shameful

    • drock

      April 24, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      What in the article was promoting division. We are 50th out of 50 getting money out to the unemployed. Facts don’t pick sides.

    • Tjb

      April 24, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      Many of the comments regarding the passing of Matt Gotcha were not political but personal attacks on the decease. I believe that the deletion of the comments was proper because Matt is unable to rely to the allegations.

    • Peter Schorsch

      April 25, 2020 at 7:52 am

      This is a news story about the unemployment system. The development was widely reported. Sometimes the news is negative. But it is not designed to promote division. Please keep ridiculous comments like that to yourself. This is not your website. It’s mine. If you want to spread your crazy, get your own site.

  • Sonja Fitch

    April 24, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Hey rich Ricky. You really screwed this up didn’t you! You sociopath racist white man!

  • Jim Johnson

    April 25, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    I am Self Employed, Unemployed due to Covid 19, filed in the system and eligible for the Federal 600 a week compensation. I have yet to see s single dime, I am getting to the point I cannot pay my bills, I log into the system 2 or 3 times a week and see no changes.

    I am one of 600,000+ people in this position.

    While I am self employed, so I have not paid into the system, I have lived and worked in Florida for 31 years, my income goes back into the state supporting employees and their contribution to the, admittedly awful cheapskate system.

    The US government has passed a law for people like me to give us support during this pandemic. WHERE IS OUR MONEY?

    Oh, before you say what about PPP? The system was rigged against the self employed, they require we use a profit/loss schedule C line that is usually near zero for most people in my position. All of our biggest expenses, for which we need the cash, are deducted before the bottom line, IE PPP is useless.

Comments are closed.


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