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Governor waives faulty requirement on Florida's unemployment website

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 16:49:10-04

It's top of mind for thousands of Floridians — when will the states unemployment website stop glitching, and when will people start getting paid?

"It's down almost every day," said Georgia Duininck, who has been filing for unemployment since mid-March. "If you can't get into the site, you can't get your benefits."

Georgia Duininck is starting to feel that she's been forgotten after getting furloughed from her job a month ago. She says she has yet to receive a dime from the state.

RELATED: Florida's unemployment website still asks about work search despite waived requirement

"I have to rely on the mercy of others. I don't want to. I don't wanna rely on the mercy of others," she said. "I have an obligation, and I want to be able to meet it. It's very simple."

Folks who have successfully applied for benefits say they now struggle to request them. It's left many fearful that they'll lose them.

The new Florida Department of Economic opportunity director says out of the 825,000 applications that flooded the department as the pandemic took its toll on the economy, only about 35,000 have been processed.

RELATED: Floridians still waiting on $600 weekly federal unemployment payment

"If the goal is the system to punish people who lose their jobs, which appears it is, it's working the way it was designed. It's punishing people who lost their jobs," said Ryan Barack, a labor and employment expert.

Barack says even though the state has waived the job search requirement for applicants, up until late Thursday afternoon, the state told folks they must sign onto the website and write "not applicable" to request them.

We found out earlier this week even that didn't work for everyone.

Plus, the site has been shutting down at night and into the morning for maintenance. That's a time when some people attempt to access it while traffic to the site is low.

RELATED: State unemployment fund $10 million short after thousands of businesses failed to pay up

"So we're unnecessarily creating additional traffic to the website that doesn't work well in the first place. It's bizarrely stupid," said Barack.

Duininck says she's disheartened knowing so many other states have been handing out unemployment checks for weeks.

"I ask the governor and all of the people we elect and trust to get to the bottom of this," she said.