TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Floridians who have been failed by the state’s overwhelmed unemployment system will be unable to access the application site this weekend.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday the CONNECT system – which has been used to pay claims for reemployment assistance – will be offline through Monday.
“CONNECT is currently processing payments. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the site reads.
The site is expected to be available again at 8 a.m. on Monday. In a tweet, the DEO said they took the system offline in order to “maximize payments to claimants.”
“The CONNECT system is offline and currently making payments and processing claims,” the tweet says.
A DEO spokesperson says the decision was made last night during its regularly-scheduled nightly shutdown to keep the system offline through the weekend so that more claims could be processed.
The state notes that new applications can still be filed online through the DEO’s new, mobile-friendly site that was created after weeks of outrage with the CONNECT system kicking applicants out, crashing, and not allowing users to submit claims.
A DEO spokesperson says CONNECT does not allow users to create a login – that must be done through the new site. Users who already have a login to CONNECT can continue to use it – but they will not be able to access it this weekend while it’s shut down.
Federal data released earlier this week shows Florida is among the slowest states when it comes to processing unemployment claims.
The system has been plagued with problems since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The site was unable to handle the influx of applications, so the state was forced to add servers to help online applications and additional employees to help answer phone calls.
8 On Your Side’s Evan Donovan is looking into the latest unemployment issue. Watch his full story tonight on News Channel 8.