DEO launches 'virtual waiting room' for out-of-work Floridians looking for their unemployment checks

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 17:19:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's unemployment system has launched a "virtual waiting room" feature for the state's out-of-work residents.

The announcement comes as Floridians trying to file for unemployment continue to wait for their unemployment benefits. With the waiting room feature, users can log into Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's (DEO) CONNECT page, wait for their turn and then log off so others can try.

DEO told I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern in an email statement that "when the CONNECT system was developed, it was designed to have 1,000 concurrent users at a time." With the new feature, CONNECT can now host up to 80,000 concurrent users.

"The CONNECT Virtual Waiting Room allows claimants to reserve their place in line while other claimants access the system," DEO told I-Team's McGivern in an email statement.

Claimants contacted ABC Action News first thing Monday morning, already expressing concerns and frustration with the new feature, saying there is no way to know where you are in line. We’ve asked DEO about this and have not yet heard back.

According to the state's most recent claims dashboard, Florida has paid off more than 1,066,000 claimants, which is about 89 percent of eligible claimants.