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Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at Lee Health Monday, May 11, 2020. Credit: WINK News.

Governor says he’ll check issues with unemployment hotline

We continue to report on updates about Florida’s unemployment system during the coronavirus pandemic as new information from the state becomes available. And we are continuing to ask the governor your questions.

We pressed the governor again Monday about issues with the unemployment website.

Over the weekend, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website, CONNECT, was down to process payments.

New numbers show roughly 125,000 more people filing for unemployment got paid.

Monday night, the dashboard says there are currently about 1.3 million claims for assistance, and almost half have been paid out — roughly $1.5 billion in total combining state and federal benefits.

Now that the website is supposed to be back up so claimants can check their status and claim weeks, many of you still told WINK News you’re having issues logging on.

On Friday, the DEO made these announcements:

  • To comply with federal law, weeks beginning May 10, 2020, claimants will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits or “claim their weeks.” In doing so, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that they are able and available for work should it be offered. For more information, click here.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis has directed the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to continue waiving the work search and work registration requirements for claimants through May 30, 2020.

Over the last few weeks, DeSantis has said claimants should simply call the DEO for help, but that’s led many nowhere.

We asked the governor if he knew about the issues connecting to a live person.

“I’ll look into the phone,” DeSantis said. “And we’ve got a huge number of people now doing the phone, and … I’ll get the call volume and see what wait times would be, but they had done a much better job recently. So if it’s not one hundred percent where it needs to be, I’ll definitely take a look and have them amp up that.”

The DEO has posted new instructions to walk you through how to file a claim and get assistance.

From your comments and emails, you say it’s difficult to navigate the system or know what to do next.

One tip we have learned is to check the DEO’s Twitter page. It has the most updated information and links.

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For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

Reporter:Sara Girard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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