DEO extends work search waiver, unemployed to recertify every two weeks

Conceptual business photo is showing printed tex unemployment claim
The department is suspending the work search requirement through May 30.

Unemployed Floridians still won’t need to search for work to claim unemployment benefits, but they will need to return to the state’s unemployment portal every two weeks to claim those benefits.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has instructed the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to extend its work search waiver through May 30 amid the recovery from COVID-19. The department let lapse a separate waiver that spared the unemployed from reconfirming every two weeks that they are still without a job.

“Pursuant to federal law, claimants will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits or ‘claim their weeks,'” according to DEO’s Reemployment Assistance application page.

Since announcing Phase One of the state’s path out of the COVID-19 lockdown, DeSantis had extended several executive orders designed to help Floridians cope with the economic and health effects of the pandemic.

But until the Friday announcement that DEO was extending the work search waiver, he had not publicly made a decision on either of the related rule suspensions. Instead, when asked by reporters, he said a decision was still in the works.

Democrats had expressed frustration this week that the Governor hadn’t given an indication of whether the waivers would continue. In South Florida, where Broward and Miami-Dade counties will remain under a stay-at-home orders, extending the work search requirement waiver was particularly important, said Miami Sen. José Javier Rodríguez.

Both waivers played twofold roles. They alleviated the stress on Floridians without a job and without a means to get a job as nonessential businesses remained shuttered and kept the stress off CONNECT, which was struggling to process a record number of unemployment claims.

The unemployment website debacle forced the state to spend more than $100 million to fix a system launched in 2013 under a $77 million contract. Floridians spent weeks trying to submit their claims as the portal crashed, and DeSantis all but removed DEO’s head from his post at the department.

In Jacksonville Friday, the Governor stressed that payments are now going out, with 1.1 million paid and 150,000 checks sent. In the week ending last Saturday, Florida saw 173,191 new unemployment claims, according to the latest weekly report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

That’s still way above the typical week’s worth of claims Florida had before the start of the coronavirus economic crisis in mid-March. But it’s also a dramatic fall from the numbers of newly-unemployed Floridians who showed up in the Department of Labor’s previous two weekly reports, 433,103 (adjusted slightly from initial reports) for the week ending April 25, and 506,670 for the week ending April 17.

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.


45 comments

  • Debra

    May 9, 2020 at 8:07 am

    I filed on March 23 and have followed all directions – having to refill two more times – I have not received not one communication from FLDEO, hundreds of calls only to be auto disconnected. Calls to Florida senate and representatives to have inquires sent on their behalf…. nothing and now we have been told to start entering indie in Monday to guarantee payment??? They are holding up federal payment to me as well – this is outrageous and underreported! A deliberate delay tactic to hold federal funding to collect millions in interest on our money – shameful!

    • Barbara

      May 9, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      I totally agree Debra. I think this is being done on purpose. I also called Rubio office, then I read he agree with Rick Scott 600.00 Federal unemployment Benefit were too much money. The CARE ACT is a bill he signed off on, if he thought it was too much money then why he sign it. And I heard him on TV talking about the business owner need help he wants another relief package. It is all just a PR stunt.

      • Frank

        May 9, 2020 at 7:59 pm

        Hi Barbara,

        Yes they are crooks. The cares act would not have become law without getting it signed off. Anyway, the $600/ week before taxes is based on a minimum wage of $15.00. Florida pays ridiculously low starvation wages and so what if some people with low pay get a bit more for a few months. We also have the other side that some people earn far above $600/week. Are they willing to pay them big bucks , I think not. So $600 is the minimum that should be given . The purpose of keeping people home is to mitigate virus spread

      • arale norimaki

        May 9, 2020 at 11:24 pm

        You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club

        They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Thats what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue thats being jammed up their everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

        It’s called the American Dream,because you have to be asleep to believe it.

        George carlin

    • Reed Harris

      May 9, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      exactly!!! This a major fraud the republicans are committing in Florida no dam joke!!! Holding up our own money and letting the average American out here suffer like no tomorrow!

    • Brandi Sommers

      May 9, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      I agree that this is being under reported. Lives are being ruined, made worse by things out of the individuals control. I didn’t ask for this dangerous virus, I didn’t ask for my employer of 9 years to furlough me without warning or earned PTO payout. And now the state of Florida, which has known for years they had a problem, is adding more stress and worry on top by making this claim process as difficult as possible. What are they expecting people to do with NO income for this long?? Is EVERYONE supposed to go get a low paying job at AMAZON or Walmart or something just to feed the kids, and maybe save the car? Sure won’t be able to pay the rent! The news seems to only run short pieces on this and don’t really ask the right questions in these self congratulatory press conferences. Both me and my son lost our jobs the same day, never applied for unemployment before and had to use the NEW site to enter our information. We have called hundreds of times over the last 4 weeks, and if we do get a person we are told something different each time. And always, can not access your information. We can not even use the CONNECT site. People are supposed to figure this out by googling and getting information from other claimants because there is no one helping from the actual DEO, these people still have jobs, what are they doing? Why are they paying people to answer phones just to tell desperate people that they can not help them????? Sorry for the inconvenience??? Are you kidding me?

      • Brina

        May 10, 2020 at 6:09 am

        My status for unemployment has said the same thing for 3 weeks as of Friday you can’t get ahold of anyone on the phone if you do they don’t know anything. Yet the governor has said they are from other state job’s I hate too know what jobs theyre coming from be auae they apparently dont know anything. How would they like it if it was them that didnt know how you were gonna pay your bills buy food or anything. Wouldn’t like it just like we dont.we need people in office that knows or has gone thru times like this not ones whose been handed e eeything on a silver platter or 🥄

    • Kimberly Collins

      May 10, 2020 at 12:25 am

      I, too, filed in March, march 27…. for the first time. I have mailed one in based on advice from the news. I then completed once on the new site, per DeSantis briefing after April5th and again on the old site on 4/25…..ive Been in pending since. Ive called over 1000 times Ann’s have never reached a human. Not one dollar sent to me. I have worked in Fl for 17 years. I can’t be more frustrated. Ive called my representative, the governor multiple times with nothing new. Im ready to protest…. what government official has gone 6 weeks without a dollar for their family?

    • lyman m. hatcher

      May 12, 2020 at 6:54 pm

      I hope that someone can do something about the DEO. It has been since March that I applied for unemployment assistance due to being laid off from the Mission Inn Resort Hotel in Howey-in-the-Hills because of the pandemic. Have not gotten the first dime. Now they need a job search for week of 04-20-2020 week of 04-25-2020 to claim those weeks. Job search, BS, there are no jobs that are really hiring a 74 year old Bellman. These job searches should not be required until this pandemic is over. At least they could pay me what is due. I talked to the Hotel HR Karen Cole and she said that I will be called back to work and that she could only say recall will be 09/01/2020 but maybe lots sooner depend on the startup plan, but DEO says hire date must be within 6 weeks..
      I feel that that the DEO is foot dragging. Pay the people so that they can pay their bills. The website works only part time and the phone number is garbage. I have lived and worked in Florida for 60 years. Sorry to be so Frank. Thank you.
      Sincerely, Lyman Hatcher

  • William Benedix

    May 9, 2020 at 8:22 am

    “The department let lapse a separate waiver that spared the unemployed from reconfirming every two weeks that they are still without a job”…..my friend usually files himself for two weeks every other Tuesday.

    Evidently that waiver thingy wasn’t very efficient in that the state only filed for one week instead of two and somehow, his bank direct deposit which was working fine, somehow got changed to a debit card. Hope the system is more functional after all these enhancements.

    My message for everyone is that you log into Connect with great regularity, take screenshots of at least your home page and keep really good records of claims and payments.

  • John Nichols

    May 9, 2020 at 10:04 am

    I applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in March. Connect system would not allow input of my 1099 wage information. The few times I have called for help and gotten through to a live voice, they ask for my file number or social security number(I don’t appreciate that opportunity for identity theft), I explain I need assistance to input wage information and they suddenly say the system is down. My observation is DEO waited a full month before they began addressing PUA applications on April 27th. Like it was an afterthought of concern. Or, they wanted to rack up the millions in interest by not letting loose payments. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I am 6 weeks in mounting debt, frustration and misery. No end in sight, Governor. I don’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel”, I am in a black hole of Connect system quantum B.S.

  • Brittany

    May 9, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    I literally have got one response and it was in the mail a paper f
    Describing the way2 go fees on the card but no card and that’s it not the outcome when I’m getting them it’s all a huge run around and fraud is being committed on someone’s part because there is no way it’s been 8 weeks for seriously oh and I got notified even when I found rent relief that I’m already being evicted so maybe had I gotten my unemployment sooner that my ght not have been the case so when ever that is
    Ridiculous

  • Esteban Yu

    May 9, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Enough of blaming the system, some examples: The PEUC federal program (for those who have run out of state benefits):

    Michigan – Started paying it on April 15.
    Alabama- ” you dont need to reapply ,as soon as you exhaust the state benefits we will start paying you the PEUC federal ones ( more 13 weeks of state ones and $ 600 weekly”
    FLORIDA – 15 days ago “We are building the system to be able to accept those applications because these are federal dollars,” Satter said.” AND WE ARE STILL WAITING. Simple they dont want to pay

  • Cynthia Salpeas

    May 9, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    LIES LIES LIES! You STILL NEED to answer all the job search questions. Stupid media can’t you do anything besides be glorified STENOGRAPHERS???? If you just READ THE REVISED booklet with the step by step instructions, you STILL NEED TO ANSWER ALL THE jobs search questions, then if you answer WRONG they get to decline you!!!! Corrupt scum. Florida is going BLUE in November and guess what…I’m on the Executive Committee of the GOP in FL and I don’t even CARE. ALSO these politicians are full of it. You CANNOT claim unemployment if your EMPLOYER wants you back at work or it’s FRAUD. Employers only have to report the people to UI. And this was WRITTEN IN THE CARES ACT. So their whining about the 600 being a disincentive to return to work is more LIES.

    • Paul

      May 10, 2020 at 11:14 pm

      Good for you Cynthia you finally see the light you have been blind to. Unfortunately hundreds of thousand feel you pain also. I pray that the unemployment debacle gets resolved soon and that you and millions more will vote Blue and get those bastards out of our life! Maybe even jail.

  • Frederick W Lightbown

    May 9, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Failed system impossible to navigate people you talked to have no information whatsoever they are just call center employees they are not Department of Deo employees so that’s a waste of time gig workers are being shut out of the system there’s no hope in sight we’re broke we need money we can’t eat we can’t buy anything and we can’t go to work it’s not our fault but the State of Florida seems that They Don’t Care About Us

  • Letha Sullivan

    May 9, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    We were advised, via Office of the Governor, Executive Order 20-104 dated 4/16/20 and also via the CONNECT SYSTEM, that we would NOT have to reapply for Benefits every 2 weeks because of the STRESS on the Servers and System.. You have upgraded and NOW we are being advised beginning Monday 5/11/20, we Unemployed will now have to reapply for Benefits that some still have not received, every two weeks on the CONNECT System… So let me guess, I am going to Login and it is going ALLOW me to Request a Benefit Payment With NO ISSUES? I will not be knocked off the System and spend ALL Day trying to Access? and All the Unemployed who is now accessing it once again will not have any problems with the Connect System AND if we have to call the 1800 #, we will get thru and ACTUALLY be able to have a Live Agent assist us in Requesting the Benefits? I pray for the BEST experience…. but needless to say…. I won’t believe it until I DO experience it.
    Let’s SEE what Monday brings. A promise taken away from Already Stressed out Unemployed Floridians.

    • hama

      May 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Is Monday already, guess what???!!! cant even log in

  • Nathan Biddle

    May 9, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Trump just lost Florida because of DeSantis and the unemployment nightmare. Even local elections will be tougher for Republicans. All over what? A few hundred bucks a week for people that most likely deserve it and are going to get it anyway. More fraud is happening in the $119+ MILLION for the software and the insane call center contracts. If one million workers get unemployment, that means the State paid $119 per worker to get them a check!!! And you know that is only the start of the cost…How much more do they spend paying people at the DEO???

  • Pete

    May 9, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    This unemployment system and crappy website in Florida is totally ATROCIOUS.This is a backwards southern state that the only difference between here and Alabama is Disney World and all the wealthy old folks coming down here to retire. Rubio is a CON and Rick Scott should be in prison for the hundreds of millions of dollars in meducare FRAUD that he stole from the tax payers and still the peiple of Florida are soooo STUPID that they actually voted the guy into the Senate. Unfortunately people this is what you get when you depend too much on the government and honestly it’s a little bit too late for this system is broken and purposely done.

  • Joseph Giffee

    May 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    The computer system was built in 2013 and probably on an original iPhone platform. You probably should have got Apple Care on that…

  • Matthew Powell

    May 9, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Just answer from somebody from unemployment my bills are piling up and up and up

  • Kimberly

    May 9, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Why should I recertify every two weeks when my claim is still pending from March 24th when I applied? I have not received even ONE payment yet. I don’t believe the numbers being reported on processed claims. We are being lied too. But what else would you expect from government?

  • michelle Smith

    May 9, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t know how we can even claim are benefits ,when the system is always down.I have been out of work since March 19,2020 and I still have not received a payment.

  • michelle Smith

    May 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I have been with out a job since March 19,2020 I filed a claim.I called unemployment and still have not received a payment.I feel helpless

  • Ralph oberg

    May 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    It comes down to desperation and or frustration! The whole thing was designed to fail and it’s doing just that! It’s a classic redirect!Press conference, looking into to the issues and hiring more people to man the phones with no information!They are stepping on the fingers,one by one,of people hanging on! They have left us alone and twisting in the wind. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!! I’ll never see a dine of that money!So I’m going out Monday to find anything I can to survive,BUT November is coming..Be ready s.o.b.

  • Dan Hanson

    May 9, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    How do you claim weeks on the new system?

  • George

    May 9, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    They want to keep the money!

  • Barry

    May 10, 2020 at 12:06 am

    We need to all get together and go to DEO office in Tallahassee!! Jam the streets. Bet the media and idiot Gov’t will notice then. Let’s unite as one as we should.

  • Carlos

    May 10, 2020 at 1:39 am

    I applied on March 16 still don’t have nothing pending..

  • Claudia

    May 10, 2020 at 5:03 am

    I filed for Unemployment 3/22. No amount of phone calls,emails, help from other elected officials has resulted in any movement on my claim. This should be so simple. I have worked for the same hotel for 13 years, and I am in their system since Irma. Yet no one will take 5 minutes to look at my claim to see what’s wrong. Governor Desantis is too worried about placing blame. He has no regard for what’s happening to thousands of Floridians who filed mid-March. Please do more reporting on this.

  • Maria

    May 10, 2020 at 7:30 am

    I filled two months ago.
    I haven’t see not $$$ at all in the two months, still not money. This’s ridiculous, no one is doing nothing for Floridians. Lies and Lies. They are trying to blame somebody, in the main time we need our money, we have bills and rent to pay. I’m a single income with a child, I’m American citizen. I’m not ask to be in this situation, Now b/c I’m in the hospitality industry they put me in furlough. The government they are full of líes and lies.

  • Carlos

    May 10, 2020 at 7:54 am

    As usual the idiot Governor is giving out bad information.
    There is a difference between doing a claim and having to fill out where you applied for a job. (nobody is hiring anyways, except the $9 dollar an hour typical poverty wage of Florida)

    You have to claim starting today, Sunday 05/10.(DEO goes from Sun to Sat)

    Some old news: You can’t claim squat because the website is not working.

  • Jim Karamitsos

    May 10, 2020 at 9:20 am

    I am starting to feel like the Governor and his cronies do not want to pay anyone. Yet we have to claim weeks for what. Not to get our money. He is quick to open up the state but not to help anyone get their money owed. Easy to play the blame game. Endless BS apologies do not help pay bills. No timeline for retro pay they say. This is beyond disgraceful. Can we file class action lawsuit against the state??? Time to get rid of this administration and any state Congress people who do not do a damn thing. You can send a man to space but cant send checks out to us, give the small business loans yet multi billion dollar corporations got their money already 6 weeks ago.

  • Dale Bloss

    May 10, 2020 at 10:02 am

    But I cannot get on the site to report and now went back to work

  • Michael Sluka

    May 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

    While recertifying every 2 weeks is not an inordinately difficult requirement, the fact that this is what DEO is spending time thinking about demonstrates just how little management skill is present within state government. It’s like thinking about shoveling snow off the backyard shed roof in the middle of a blizzard. Prioritize resolving the pending claims first, then, next August, go back and worry about whether all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed.

  • Mary

    May 10, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    So we don’t have to conduct a work search, but we do have to Request Benefit Payments? Not sure how that alleviates stress on the system since a claimant does both those tasks under one sign-in. To summarize, the number of people signing into their accounts won’t be any less. Classic “government-in-action”!

  • Michael J Anderson

    May 10, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    eight weeks after being laid off from my job with no income 3/20/20 and since my job is doubtful to be back soon (baseball). after being ruled ineligible with no explanation. I have applied on the new site, the old site I can’t apply for pandemic assasstance. Can’t get through on phone.
    I have .41 cents in the bank after paying April, and Mays bills …

    Not sure what to do anymore ☹️

  • Ken

    May 10, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    I think it’s time to sign a petition to impeach Desantis!

  • Alan B

    May 10, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I thought at least Republicans knew how to make the trains run on time…gross incompetence. Did Ronnie ever have to meet a payroll? No business smarts. He probably got into Yale (George W also) and Harvard under a Republican affirmative action program.

  • Caroline

    May 11, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I tried to claim weeks but it still asks for a job search and won’t let me go any further. If I answer NO to did I look for work it will make me ineligible to collect money for that week.

  • Carol

    May 11, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    It’s uncanny at how this “system” has has $177 Million dollars pumped into it, and still doesn’t work.

  • Caroline

    May 11, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I went online to claim my weeks and the job search was there. I did what DEO said and answered NO to the job search and noted that it had been waived until May 30 per the Governor. When I finished it said my claim for my weeks was pending an investigation because I did not do,a job search. This is the second time that I will not be paid my benefits due to the same error by DEO.

  • Tammie

    May 12, 2020 at 8:34 am

    I feel like I am never going to be helped at this point. Applied 3-28-20 only to be ineligible on 4-27-20 with no reason or fault of my own. Reapplied 4-29-20 and its still pending and every time I call to speak with a person after waiting for over an hour each time i’m told the same thing to keep calling because these are benefits that I am entitled too ! So they want you to keep calling with no resolution ? Why would I keep calling to hear from a different person that I need to call back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t pay my bills I just want my job back! Every time you have to depend on somebody other than yourself you go through crap like this!

Comments are closed.


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