From State Representative, Cord Byrd:
“Today, I spoke with DEO to get an update as to the progress that is being made processing the backlog of unemployment benefit applications. To date, my office has assisted hundreds of constituents and I fully appreciate their frustration and, for some desperation, to care for their families. Every application is unique which causes delay given the volume of claims. This, of course, does not make the situation any less frustrating for those wading through system and waiting for benefits, but please be encouraged that the people in charge DO care and they ARE making progress.
First, they confirmed that Floridians will be paid for prior weeks back to March 19th or the date you lost your job, whichever is later. So if you have been unable to claim prior weeks because of the system issues, they will be paid as well.
As an example of progress, verification of applicants’ identity is typically done through the Social Security Administration, but the SSA could not handle the volume nationwide. DEO is in the process of getting permission to verify through DMV, which will significantly speed up the verification step.
Additionally, the CONNECT system has been taken offline today through Monday in order to speed up the processing of applications. DEO made this decision, knowing that people would be upset that they cannot check the status, but also knowing that more claims will be processed and more benefits will be paid. This has been misreported as the Unemployment Offices being “closed”, which is completely inaccurate. They will continue to work around the clock.
They ask that new claims be submitted through this link, rather than paper, if possible. If you are waiting on an existing claim, just know that you will not be able to check CONNECT this weekend.
Our office will continue to get updated information while CONNECT is off-line. If you need immediate assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.