Governor may extend break from job search requirements for unemployed
A transformation of Florida’s career system could help job seekers.

concept unemployment and coronavirus a man in a medical hygienic mask is holding a cardboard tablet with a inscription need a job
Waiver expires after May 8th.

Unemployed Floridians are currently slated to have to show that they are still looking for a job to receive their state and federal benefits starting May 9.

However, Gov. Ron DeSantis is willing to take a second look at suspending that requirement for a while longer.

DeSantis, addressing Orlando reporters Saturday, noted that the original suspension of requirements was to “take stress off the system.” With shutdowns decimating the economy, the website was crushed under the weight of applications.

While the Governor is confident in website fixes, he said he’s “fine with extending [the suspended work search requirement] if we need to.”

“If I have to waive it, I’ll waive it,” DeSantis said.

Should this happen, it represents a reversal from previously stated policy of the DeSantis Administration.

As currently written, Phase One of the Governor’s reopening plan will not extend the past Friday the executive order allowing Floridians to obtain unemployment benefits without confirming every two weeks that they’re searching for work.

With a Friday order, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which operates the state’s Reemployment Assistance Program, put both the search requirement and the two week recertification process in lockstep. Both now lapse next week, at least until a further order is made, according to the department’s spokeswoman, Tiffany Vause.

On Saturday morning, Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Governor’s spokeswoman, tweeted that the suspensions will expire May 9,

[email protected] extended Emergency Order 20-011 waiving online work registration and work search requirements consistent with the “emergency flexibility” guidance issued by @USDOL as economy reopens,” she wrote.

Removing the work search requirement was in part meant to alleviate stress on the department’s benefits application system, which has been flooded with more than 2 million applications. With thousands of applicants trying to reach CONNECT simultaneously during the unprecedented economic downturn, many were unable to submit their requests for weeks.

“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,” DeSantis said when he announced the relaxed unemployment requirements.

Now, less than two weeks after that announcement, the state appears confident CONNECT and the paper application and online alternative are enough to keep up with processing new claims.

This week, the state began rolling through unemployment claims after clearing a backlog over the weekend. DEO approved 10,490 new unemployment claims Wednesday while rejecting only 162. And on Thursday, the department deemed 9,110 claims eligible.

As claims processing speeds up, the economy will reopen, but gradually.

In Phase One of the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.” plan, restaurant dining rooms and retail stores can reopen with 25% capacity. The ban on elective surgeries was set to lapse after May 8, but the order bumped that start date to Monday.

The Phase One order extends bar, gym and vacation rental closures and travel limitations from the New York City and New Orleans areas. Local governments can also continue meeting remotely.

Because the CONNECT system was not updated to accept applicants who did not confirm they were searching for a job, per the temporary rule change, the system told some people their claims were denied. However, the DeSantis administration told Florida Politics those claims were being processed manually.

On Friday, DEO also instructed that Floridians who had difficulty filing a request since mid-March because of the hampered system can themselves modify the effective date of their claim.

In a Friday letter to Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, installed to fix DEO’s CONNECT issues, Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart criticized the need for applicants to reapply.

“The explanations given by the department have been confusing and it has caused additional hardships and further desperation for affected applicants,” she said. “Surely, executive action could be taken to ease the burden and provide relief for these applicants.”

Editor’s note: This article was originally published Thursday and has since been updated with recent events.

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.


  • Michele

    April 30, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Thats a fkn lie i tried to put application on line no luck so i went yo get a paper application 3 frikkin weeks ago Still no luck WTF!? Goinna sue the state!!! Fk em!!

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 9:53 am

      No retroactive pay for you. State is opening up and you have a job now so you don’t qualify. That is what these moron are hoping for. to dump 1000’s of filers form getting retroactive and what is deserved of the people they made unemployed.

      • Glenna L Hook

        May 4, 2020 at 2:42 am

        I know it’s a joke…governor and politicians say everything is good now but you still can’t get thru on phones if you need help and IF you’re lucky enough to sign on you better only look at home page…if you try to get more information on needed pages you get booted out…it truly is laughable!! If we weren’t so desperate..

      • Fidel

        May 7, 2020 at 12:50 am

        How are we supposed to look for jobs when what I am qualified to do is still closed how will I get names and number is I am unable to go to their office and apply I have no restuarant experience?

  • Emily

    April 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    This whole process has been a nightmare of deadends and incompetence. I’ve been stuck in wage determination pending status for over a month. You can’t ger through to talk to anyone, can’t get replies to emails, DMs or any other form of communication. I feel utterly helpless and hopeless and I’m getting no answers and no help from anyone. I don’t know what to do. It’s like banging my head against a wall, trying to get answers from anyone in the government.

    • L

      May 1, 2020 at 12:29 am

      The news tonight, at 11.. they said to call this number..~ good luck
      [ CALL. 1 833 Fl apply ]

      1833 352-7759

      they said different times of the day may not be as busy.. good luck 👍

      • Cyber Dude

        May 1, 2020 at 9:46 am

        They will hang up on you they are now dump calls. Your wait time is counted by the amount of times the route you and then tell you no call backs and hangs up. They don’t want to pay unemployment and aren’t giving retroactive time.

        THE GOVERNOR IS A LIAR AND FULL OF IT. H’e opening up to avoid the cost of unemployment benefits that would need to pay out. Its been 7 weeks now since the melt down that HE issued and caused and most pay outs are starting from the first week of April not the day you were Furloughed.

        This jack ass running the Unemployment SATTER is just away of making it look like he’s doing something. The system is no better they shutdown the website now daily so no one can file a claim during the evenings. They are sabotaging unemployment for this this States People who actually need and deserve it.

        The website is a middle school design, isn’t friendly as you have to really search where things.

        Just remember most politicians are scam artist and con artist making you believe what really isn’t

      • Robert Smith

        May 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm

        Should call the phone line tree of despair finally think u get some where dump ur call laid of 3/17 finally got my claim done 4/12 is still no check 5/1 ibe back at work before I get anything they take there money every week

        • Tim

          May 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm

          I have been out of work since 3/21.. applied multiple times.. nothing keep getting denied because I am self employed… now they say reapply our county is still closed to tourists and no help in site.. total bullshit

      • Glenna L Hook

        May 4, 2020 at 2:41 am

        I know it’s a joke…governor and politicians say everything is good now but you still can’t get thru on phones if you need help and IF you’re lucky enough to sign on you better only look at home page…if you try to get more information on needed pages you get booted out…it truly is laughable!! If we weren’t so desperate..

  • Delores

    April 30, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Exactly the same sotuation with my huaband.
    It’s a freaking joke!

  • liz

    April 30, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    They are bragging about 10,000 applications getting looked at? THEY HAVE A BACKLOG OF ALMOST 2 MILLION. So in 4 or 5 years they might get around to everyone?

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 9:50 am

      They aren’t looking at much, look at all the valid applications being rejected. To them is a pick and choose. This application will be rejected and then this one will go through wait we have to much going through dump another 1000. The people running the shit show don’t care if you get it or don’t they are being paid regardless.

  • Theresa

    April 30, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    This is ridiculous. What about those of us scheduled to return to work when our jobs fully open back up?? Why would we look for a job if we already have one to go back to??

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 9:57 am

      So you can’t get unemployment at all. This is their chance to deny applications regardless.

    • Frank Strobe

      May 2, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      The idea that someone who has a job that was delayed has to look for work is idiotic and a waste of time for business and the unemployed.

  • Chris from PBG

    April 30, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    What about the residents of South Florida? We are not opening phase 1 ye for another couple of weeks? I still haven’t received any mmoney and applied April 3 rd. Why dont we fix all the current problems before Creating new ones?? This will be the nail in the coffin for the Governors re-election. This whole process has been handled poorly and it will cost him his seat Unfortunately..

    • Jen from PBG

      May 1, 2020 at 9:59 am

      It will cost DeSanits the election “unfortunately”? No, I’d say it’s very fortunate. He has messed up time and time again and proved his incompetence. He does not deserve to be reelected period. And every single person who voted for him the first time is responsible for this. You voted for this, just like you voted for Rick Scott before him.

      Republicans are the problem.

      • Maria Estrada

        May 1, 2020 at 3:49 pm

        I agree with that 💯💯

      • Susie

        May 1, 2020 at 10:28 pm

        Insanity is…..what your saying. This has been an almost impossible situation which no one had any idea of what to do at first! If you want to blame anyone…blame the people who had much to gain for all this chaos…China….many pushing vaccines for a corona virus which will mutate many times and be a total loss of the vaccine….who is going to gain from that!? The President was criticized for trying to shut flights from China down early in the game…..He spoke about the Corona Virus Danger in China at the end of the SOTU address while insane Nancy ripped up his speech…..All their evil plans to hurt the President failed… what was next???? Ruin the economy and hurt the American people at all cost!

      • Karen

        May 2, 2020 at 12:05 am

        So if you were stupid enough to vote for Gillum, we would have been stuck with a drugged out degenerate for a governor.
        No country has faced anything like this particular pandemic and almost every country in the world has been affected.
        But you’re going to blame DeSantis because the unemployment process site couldn’t handle the highest amount of unemployment applications in the country. Try turning off CNN and think for yourself, if you can.

        • CJ

          May 4, 2020 at 12:55 am

          You obviously are financially stable and are not starving, getting evicted, nor have you been waiting for 8 weeks for money. Did you wait 2 months for your stimulus check to come? This isn’t about politics. This is about starvation and homelessness.

      • Aimee

        May 8, 2020 at 1:34 pm

        What was the alternative, a meth head found passed out naked in a hotel room with other men…yeah Andrew Gillium would have been a better choice..NOT!!

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Same with me, but they don’t care. The middle school developed website is meant to fail, you ever take a look at something and can’t find it and the information your are looking for is either somewhere its not suppose to be or just hidden.

      He’s sadly on top of this States leadership. He’s a puppet for the President (talk about brown nose he has his face so far into it that he eats it). He doesn’t care about the people he’s just opening up trying make people believe that he is opening up things so people are happy with his actions because people want it. If you close the State down in the first place screwing up peoples lives and then shortly after opening up in middle of it with False data that he created rejecting people to hospitals covering the death toll for it then why even bother closing the State.

      Sadly his poise is no different than dictators before their fall. For He has my vote, VOTE TO FAIL and deffinately not my vote for any political candidacy. plain and simple MORON.

    • Glenna L Hook

      May 4, 2020 at 2:47 am

      I think so…yep.
      .people are angry..

  • Misty

    April 30, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Still lies. Mine was denied BC work search was not met. I applied 3/20 and still not a penny. I don’t need to look for work BC I’ll have a job when we can open back up. And DEO STILL aren’t keeping up so let’s add more back on top of what’s not fixed yet.

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:24 am

      They aren’t fixing a thing, A porn Site would be up and running with in days if they got hit this hard.

      An not retroactive pay for many so if you did get hired back you may not see a penny, but you are definitely and rightfully owed the money for something they ordered to happen from Day one. like many the week of March 17, 2020

      They are idiots but the dictionary can’t define this type of idiots.

  • Carlos Hernandez

    May 1, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Slimy move by Governor DeSantis, but completely on-brand for someone failing Floridians.

  • Frank Rizzo

    May 1, 2020 at 12:57 am

    Now hopefully all you knuckleheads who voted for that fascist DeSantis will vote Democrat in the next Gubernatorial election.

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Good call, but it has nothing to do with what party you are affiliated with. It matters how much you are actually for the people and how much brains you have. Notice how he tries to get the approval of the President, he can’t do it on his own because his nose is brown, but in my case his whole is brown. As well he doesn’t have the balls to do it himself.

    • susie

      May 1, 2020 at 10:32 pm

      That’s insanity…..the democrats in the North East and Michigan along with Ca have done the very worse! All democrats….they don’t have a clue

  • Keish

    May 1, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Send all unemployed the max, u screwed up and ft people are ineligible but my pt workers are making 3x more then when they worked giving samples at a place. Can’t even apply for $600 from govt cuz it’s tied to state unemployment. Non$ mid March-may. That mom who is trying to understand home schooling, fighting with unemployment site and not get kicked off. She has $10 left, does she buy groceries or save for gas for a food pantry cuz she rented and is about to get evicted.. DeSantis will pay for being a Rick Scott and trump puppet come election… They ruined his career. Pay people now, if overpaid or fraud deal with later.

  • Nancy

    May 1, 2020 at 8:07 am

    What about the workers that are being brought back by their employers, but with greatly reduced hours? I’m going from 40hrs down to 20 hrs, and probably lose my $600 and UE. I can’t live on 20 hours..

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:37 am

      the rules of unemployment state that you can still claim unemployment if you have reduced hours. Just know how that works. The $600 should not be affected if you are still considered for unemployment with reduced hours, but remember this the system they have designed is to disqualify everyone even if you qualify and tell you to reapply in hope that you will give up and drop yu claim.

      Ever wonder why so many are now suing the State and the system including the Governor.

  • Joshua

    May 1, 2020 at 9:02 am

    I’ve been deemed ineligible for state but approved for PUA. Why am I only getting 125 a week approved. Out of work since 3/15, only income for a family of 3. My son has complex medical needs. After all the headache and runaround 125? Yay

    • KEEFER H

      May 1, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Oh the florida government know exactly what is happening and why..if they really felt motivated to fix the problem of us out here drowning and sinking they would have already. Rick scott and desantis have played golf and ate delicious prime rib with finest seafood to plan exactly what us trash deserve..

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Can’t get over who decided that the criteria that I know of states $600 for PUA, some how the Governor probably found a loop hole he used to cut that up so you get the least probably with the help of others like the puppet master.

      Regardless I would join the ranks with the other and get on the band wagon with the class action against all involved with this scam.

  • John

    May 1, 2020 at 9:24 am

    I applied on the alternative site and did a paper application, I was furloughed 3/27, it still says mine is pending. My cousin got layed off two weeks after I did and she has already recieved to unemployment checks so far. They have really dropped the ball on this one. Just get people the money and worry about the details later.

    • Cyber Dude

      May 1, 2020 at 10:48 am

      Hopefully you get retroactive pay because for what i know very few are getting retroactive payments.

      They collected the unemployment insurance, but refuse to honor it.

  • Michele

    May 1, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I was already in the unemployment system, precovid and receiving weekly benefits, direct deposited to my bank account as of February. I was unable to “claim my weeks” for the week of March 7 due to the website’s unavailability. I finally got on the computer site early April to find that my claim had been “deactivated”. I was then advised to “re-enter” my claim which after several attempts I completed. At the end of that session I was told I needed come back 4/22 which I did and was advised to claim my week of 3/7 on the website. Of course, I was unable to enter the info once again. I have not received a benefit since 3/19 and am unable to get information regarding pre-covid existing claims. Help.

  • Cyber Dude

    May 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

    they spent millions of dollars to update the system including customer service call centers. Today 5/1/2020 that same systems is totally fubared unfriendly still crashes.

    Customer service or call centers are now just hanging up the calls so no calls are actually answered. Website gets totally shutdown from 8pm to 8am not to improve the system, but to lower the amount of applications to the system in hopes you don’t file a claim.

    GOVERNOR DeSantAss is a fuken moron and Satter is just a scapegoat and a moron.

  • Cyber Dude

    May 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Out President and Governor DeSantAss are pretty much setting themselves up for election because they don’t have my vote at all.

    One of the reasons that they are trying to open up throughout the USA is to avoid the new Stimulus package for the people. that is in fact a large amount of funds that truthfully hasn’t been calculated yet. The damages the Governor has made over and over has affected the entire population of Florida. Once open we have 50% chance of going either way and I hope that it goes the good way.

    Unemployment regardless if you are re-employed is rightfully owed retroactively for the no fault of the people, just the governing bodies fault. People lost there jobs more than a month ago and still have pending bills that can’t be paid up in fully immediately without the period of unemployment paid complete retroactively. Those funds are need so renters can catch up on rent, mortgages payment paid those that couldn’t make a payment recently. The state is full filling their promise to have unemployment retroactive.

    The though business just zooming back into business at full force with criteria give means less employees with still thousand seeking employment at the same places. With thousands and maybe millions looking for work and only a few hundred jobs available they really have their head up their ass.

    This State is worse as far as Living here period. The Government are free loafers and now it shows even more how much they care about people and it doesn’t matter what party they are affiliated with they are all scum bags living off the common people.

    It doesn’t surprise that many are suing the State, the DEO and DeSantAss… Yes I spellled his name right. Because it is was it is and A$$


    May 1, 2020 at 11:37 am

    F**k DeSantis and the f*****g Republicans he rode in on! AND, Shouldabenafelon Scott, too! Any working stiff – who happens to be stuck working anywhere in Jesusland – and who votes Republican – is a moron!

  • Maria Estrada

    May 1, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I would like to know how I’m supposed to look for work when I drive motor coaches so get you shit together DeSantis

  • Jared Wall

    May 1, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Our politicians in Florida should be fired and have them go through the unemployment process. I’ve been waiting for 7 weeks and my job isn’t able to open up in phase one I’m at the end of my rope and no one in the Florida government gives a s*** about the hard working people that put money in their crooked pockets

  • Tim Hickman

    May 1, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Just fantastic.
    i was deemed ineligible due to my wages Wednesday!
    I’ve had one employer for 23-years.
    I’ve worked in the sane place the whole time with over 125 people.
    We all are without a job Due to covid-19 on 3/15/2020.

    We have have a FB check in page for need & safety Check in.

    I am the ONLY person ineligible.

    Over 100 ppl got their first check/s today.
    Everyone else except myself got APPROVED & will receive payments by Monday 5/4/2020.

    I’ve also have yet to receive the $1200 stimulus check & I take care of a partner with cancer!
    It’s r greenly hard to check into that FB page and realize I’m the only one in this situation.
    I FEEL EMBARRASSED & I dint know what to do.
    There is No-one at DEO to talk to. I’ve been on hold from opening to close since Wednesday 4/29/2020 & at close it just hangs up on you!

    There’s no explanation on connect site & no where for me to file an appeal or to get help.


    Unemployed since 3/15/2020

  • Robert

    May 1, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Just AWFUL! I feel so bad for people struggling right now. I sorta saw this coming and decided to downsize drastically 3 years ago. Less expenses on everything. Housing, Food, Entertainment, Phone, and Insurance, etc, etc,. I found the cheapest of everything, I sold what had value and tossed stuff or gave away what didn’t. It was very hard at first, but I adapted. In fact, I catch myself thinking “Remember when you thought all of this was so difficult and tragic? NOW LOOK AT YOU just living and thriving and DOING IT all happy-n-Sh!t!!!”… So, what most people are going through now, having to drastically reduce their standard of living, I willingly did 3 years ago. I survived the 2008 financial crisis and learned and BURNED a very hard (yet good) lesson in surviving it… That lesson: NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

  • Kristie J Wainscott

    May 1, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    I will never give him another vote on nothing.Flordia is worst state I have ever seen when it comes to leadership.

  • Blah

    May 2, 2020 at 12:52 am

    So stores/restaurants are opening at 25% capacity. They won’t need 100% of staff until they fully open and customers are confident and spending again. That is not included the ones that survive on tourist dollars…. Stupidness. What if reopening causes us to become the next NY? Or what if something else happens to cause mass unemployment? The unemployment system needs fixed.

    • CJ

      May 4, 2020 at 1:10 am

      If millions of people aren’t getting money to support the economy, who is left to support the restaurants and businesses opening up? They did not think this out at all.

  • Bobbie

    May 2, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Please continue to vote republican. They’re not interested in helping you just want your vote. 2016 Felon Voting Rights amendment the the republican maj. legislature ignored and put in their own unconstitutional restrictions is all you need to know. Keep voting republican and you’ll keep voting against your own interests when help is needed.

  • jp

    May 2, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    What about the unemployed citizens of the three counties that remain partially closed? I am one of them and will be headed back to my restaurant job once we reopen. Not certain when that will be just yet, but how can I apply for jobs when nothing is open and when I already have one to return to??? I applied on 3/22/2020 and am STILL in pending mode. Six plus weeks without an income is becomig incredibly challenging and I see NO help in sight. I am trying desperately to be patient and understanding. However, the mortgage company, electric company, credit card companies etc do not seem to be willing to accept “thanks for your patience during this time” as payment. Unfortunately, as a law abiding tax paying Floridian, I must!!!! To the powers that be…PLEASE HELP!!! Please save any judgement on punctuation, grammar etc. My brain is inundated by/with many other more serious issues at this time.

    • Kris

      May 2, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      JP, I feel for you. I finally got approved and now hope to be one of the people who’s payments are being processed over the weekend. I know it’s horribly stressful- I feel it too- but if it makes you feel any better, I know you will get your benefits. I can’t tell you when, but they are coming, and sooner rather than later.
      Best wishes my friend


      • jp

        May 3, 2020 at 11:15 am

        Kris, Thank you for the kind words (they do make me feel better) and congratulations on your success with this system. Fingers crossed that you receive payment very soon. Hoping for ALL that things work out swiftly and that this HORROR in OUR world ends sooner rather than later. I am also praying with EVERYTHING in my heart and soul that we emerge from this a better, kinder, more compassionate, more tolerant, stronger and peacefully united world!!!!!!!

  • Mark

    May 7, 2020 at 10:34 am

    I just got off the phone from UI person and confirmed again 6th person starting Monday May 4th until now Thursday May7th…no one that works for UI help line…NONE…have been able to get into their OWN SYTEM to help people ALL this week. Yes “we” can get in to see our account but they can not help a single person because they can not get into their own system. This info is FRESH FRESH FRESH.
    How the hell is this possible this late in the game?

  • Myles white

    May 8, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    it seems to me that a much easier way to address this would be an automated system that a person can file a claim or claim weeks, and they didnt have to be brutalized by the seeming abuse from the system that is obviously created to be user unfriendly. DeSantis is a smart individual and of course i believe he could have found ways to dole out the monies to the people in a simple manner, but he chose to leave it to a bad fate in which will result in casualties of this tragedy of people in need. I guess this is not a new thing as governer Scott is the initial creater of the system as we know it(purposely destined to fail). It remains flawed amongst people who are desperately needing what was eluded to and promised by the governer and federal government funds were provided.
    He possibly hopes that he can evade a lot of these claims and keep those funds where they are, or it would have been accomplished .This unfortunately is one of those unfair situations. I hope we can all make it work, and I hope by some strench of the imagination, the funds will come through for those who need them. And better times will be ahead for all Floridians.

Comments are closed.


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