Florida unemployment claims stalled by clogged websites

Florida unemployment claims stalled by clogged websites

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jacqueline Gonzalez considers herself one of the lucky ones. Weeks after being laid off from a South Florida sports bar that was shut down because of the coronavirus, the 32-year-old single mom was finally was able to complete an online unemployment application. But even so, the out-of-work bartender has received no confirmation of how much of the maximum $275 per week in compensation she’ll receive, or when the checks will start arriving. And there is no one to ask. She’s called multiple times, but the call always goes unanswered. “Every day, you’re trying to log in to see what your status is. Some days you can get in, and some days you don’t,” Gonzalez said, referring to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s website. “It’s a waiting game.” A U.S. congresswoman from central Florida is demanding an investigation. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat, asked the U.S. Department of Labor late Friday to look into Florida’s unemployment compensation program, describing it as “deficient.” The congresswoman said in a letter to the department’s Inspector General that the program “has now collapsed at the precise time it is needed most, causing incalculable economic and emotional harm to Floridians whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 crisis.” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he’s added 2,000 state workers to try to sort through the growing numbers of unemployment claims. He said the department must verify the Social Security number, employer and other information for each person filing for unemployment. The Department of Economic Opportunity also has increased it’s computer system’s capacity so that it can handle the approximately 120,000 simultaneous website users it has been seeing recently — about double the peak usage in recent weeks. Officials said the agency received 3.8 million calls last week, 50% […]

Original Post www.chron.com

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