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Feds to investigate ongoing unemployment site issues

People across the state of Florida are still struggling to get unemployment benefits and now the federal government is planning to investigate the problem.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the Government Accountability Office is preparing a review of problems across the country, and Florida will likely be included.

The news comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Tuesday during a press conference about what may be causing some issues with applications.

DeSantis said that nearly 97 percent of the almost 1 million people eligible have received payment, and the rest are likely not being paid due to errors on their part.

That doesn’t help those who are still waiting and struggling to make ends meet.

Carlos Pizzaro of Naples said he feels defeated.

“It feels like nobody cares about us, like they don’t care at all. It’s very frustrating,” he said.

“I actually filed for unemployment a couple of days after we were laid off … it took me eight hours. I would fill out a page then it would crash…”

Eight weeks later and he still hasn’t had any relief.

Michelle Evermore at the National Employment Law Project said getting to the bottom of the state’s unemployment site’s issues is a priority.

“The governor called for an IG investigation, and I hope that signals that he is taking it very seriously and will also look at the audits of the CONNECT system.”

She said Florida has one of the highest demands for unemployment, but she is seeing people get through the system.

“Whenever there is a recession that’s this big, whenever the downturn hits like this, there is going to be not just the old claims that the state’s going to have to keep reviewing the continuing claims and they’re going to get new claims.”

DeSantis also addressed many reasons why some people are having issues getting approved.

“If you don’t have a last name, you don’t have a social security number, that’s going to be problematic. You have to be able to have your identity verified. Then obviously you got to provide work history information,” he said. 

Some people who applied are getting paid within 10 days, while others may have employers contesting their application or their application has been flagged for possible fraud.

The governor admitted there are still glitches that his team is still fixing every day, but he believes the process has greatly improved.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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