As of the latest count, more than 650,000 Floridians are out of work. The state’s glitch-ridden system has created a backlog and Floridians could be waiting weeks for their unemployment checks to arrive.
A visibly frustrated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis admitted during a Wednesday news conference that at this time he doesn’t know how many unemployment applications have been processed or how many people have been paid by the state’s unemployment system. The system is handled by the Department of Economic Opportunity, which DeSantis oversees.
This came a month into Florida’s unprecedented unemployment crisis, with hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians trying to file claims for unemployment benefits and then waiting weeks to even find out if they are eligible. As of the latest count, more than 650,000 Floridians are out of work. During the conference, the governor announced that he is replacing Ken Lawson, the man in charge of the state’s glitch-ridden unemployment system. Lawson will remain at his job, but Department of Management Services Secretary, Jonathan Satter, will be in charge of overseeing the system’s operations.
After hundreds of thousands of Floridians were laid off from their jobs or began working reduced hours due to the coronavirus crisis, Florida was not able to keep up with the unprecedented number of people filing for unemployment benefits, which max out at $275 per week (and are among the lowest in the nation).
Weeks into the problem it was discovered that the system backup, which was designed to protect against these problems, wasn’t properly connected and adjustments had to be made. But although the problem appears to be fixed, at this time the state backlog is reported at 560,000 claims (though it could be as high as one million).
DeSantis said that more than 500,000 claims have been filed through a new online portal launched last week, and thousands more unemployment applications have been sent through the mail (through partnership with FedEx), but due to the excessive backlog, Floridians could be waiting weeks for their unemployment checks to arrive.