Jacksonville, Fl—The fact that Florida’s unemployment checks are among the lowest in the United States is well known. But more disturbing is that 1.2 million Floridians filing claims brought on by the corona pandemic cannot navigate the state’s online system to get paid. They spend hours, days and weeks trying to do the online application for unemployment without success. Worst of the process of filing was so frustrating applicants give up. This system was implemented under former Governor Rick Scott well before the virus. And it resulted in in the state reporting unusually low unemployment numbers in the past and up until March of this year.
Democrats have demanded that Governor Ron DeSantis investigate the bidding process and contract of Deloitte, the company that built it. And Deloitte says the system was designed per the state requirements. DeSantis has the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigating, meanwhile efforts crank out claims has not improved much and continues to frustrate people in need.
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson says the Governor’s agency has to do better.
“We continue to see that people haven’t been paid,” Gibson says adding that more has to be done to repair the failed system and that means transparency. “They have to find the tools to pay people. People don’t need anymore excuses from the governor; they need to see the numbers. They need transparency.” Gibson was among the early challengers of the unemployment payout system that has collapsed under the weight of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although DeSantis knew of the intentionally flawed system when he took office in 2019, but never tried to fix it until recently. Now, what changes implemented by his agency are not working.
Governor DeSantis has been under tremendous pressure recently for a variety of issues surround the Coronavirus. A Florida Department of Health employee says she was fired because she would not alter COVID-19 data. He stopped the Florida Surgeon General from updating reporters on COVID-19 safeguards and state statistics. Black lawmakers have yet to receive an accurate number of African American deaths in Florida resulting from the virus. DeSantis recently lashed out at reporters who questioned the state’s inability to process claims. He said that many claims have errors and that reporters should do the vetting. Of course that is not a reporters job.
Senator Gibson is providing here own transparency by keeping count of the number of paid claims made. You can check the numbers on the senator’s twitter account, capitol@senadudrey2eet or