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As unemployment system issues continue, Department of Labor releases audit on state-managed rehiring programs

Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 10:48:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — All Gail McDermott can do right now is wait.

“At first you wanna cry and then it’s so ridiculous you don’t know what to do,” McDermott said. “I mean it’s laughable.”

When she first filed for unemployment last March, she, like so many others, waited weeks to be deemed eligible or ineligible for benefits.

“I think that there were so many people they were trying to go on unemployment back in March we all got caught up in what we called a black hole,” she said.

Things were smooth for a while, but 2021 has brought a new round of issues. Now, she’s bouncing back and forth between eligibility status with no explanation from the DEO.

“I don’t know who touched my claim or did whatever they did but I was fixed,” she said. “I was on PEUC I had my 11 weeks I was good to go. I don’t know what happened!”

“Even when we solve one problem another problem pops up I mean it’s like a constant whack-a-mole situation,” said State Representative Anna Eskamani, from district 47.

The Department of Labor released results of an audit on state-managed rehiring programs and found “deficiencies” which is concerning to Dane Eagle, the executive director of the Florida DEO.

“The breadth of findings recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor is concerning, and Governor DeSantis has asked that I work with the Legislature to pursue necessary reforms,” he said in a statement.

But, Eskamani believes the state may be putting the cart before the horse.

“So now we see leaders sort of charging forward on fixing career source but candidly, it’s really hard for folks to find a new job when they don’t know how they’re gonna pay their bills on time,” she said.

It’s why she doesn’t think lawmakers need to wait on any audits of the unemployment system. She says her office, and lawmakers across the state, have plenty of evidence that shows how faulty the system is.

“My office has evidence from over 21,000 Floridian’s that contacted us. We have data and examples and metrics to point to of where the issues are and what needs to be fixed,” she said.

There’s still no word on when the Department of Labors audit on the state's unemployment system will be complete.

ABC Action News is also checking in with the Department of Labor on the status of an audit several members of Congress called for in June is 2020.