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DEO says you must log into CONNECT every two weeks to claim unemployment benefits

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Posted at 5:34 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 07:29:09-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- A step in the unemployment process that was waived by the Governor for the last three weeks will start back up again Monday. Many people have criticized the move because they worry it will bog the system down once again.

However, for the first time in weeks, Theresa Vester says her experience on CONNECT was decent.

“It seemed fine, I didn’t have any delays,” she said. “I logged right on this morning at about 10 a.m. and I didn’t get kicked off, I didn’t have to answer any questions because I guess I’m all caught up.”

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She, for whatever reason, was able to claim her benefits last Thursday after she filled in questions related to work history.

“I couldn’t work because of COVID-19. I hadn’t been looking for work because of COVID-19, this is the day I stopped working because of COVID-19,” she said.

A day later on Friday, the DEO announced “pursuant to federal law” everyone needs to go in and claim their benefits every two weeks. When ABC Action News asked about the federal law, the DEO responded back by copying and pasting a paragraph from its website, which did not answer our question.

And while the processes worked fine for Vester, others folks have complained on Twitter that the site is still crashing.

Hopefully, it will be fixed for other people as well because it’s just not fair that it’s still broken,” said Vester.

State Representative Anna Eskamani called the website “complete trash” on Monday and that it, “will not work with so many people logging in at once.” She wants DEO to pace the website traffic.

“We really want to use the system to process as many payments as possible and if you have 500 thousand people going on just to do that, when we know they are probably still unemployed, it’s probably better to waive that,” she said.

According to the DEO, the “work search requirements” is still waived. It’s unclear if that is what the Governor meant. We’ve reached out to DEO and the Governor’s office for clarification and are waiting to hear back.