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Issue in CONNECT system holds up claims for people who claim benefit week on Thanksgiving

Posted at 5:54 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 18:43:00-05

If Thursday is your day to sign into Florida’s unemployment system and claim weeks, some people may be on hold for no reason.

“It’s incredibly frustrating that nine months into the pandemic Floridians continued to face glitches and small problems that have become big problems and just issues with the connect system as a whole,” said State Representative Anna Eskamani, who represents District 47.

The glitch happened on Thanksgiving day and it took the DEO a few more days to figure out what was causing the problem.

But community activist Vanessa Brito says they should have directed folks to claim their weeks on Friday.

“I would not mind having to wait 24 hours to claim my weeks as opposed to waiting a week to receive my benefits,” Brito said.

Now, claimants are worried the same thing could happen on the next holiday.

“If you know you don’t have personnel there on a holiday to handle these types of glitches, then shut the system down for that holiday and then reopen it the next day when you have people available to address it,” Brito said.

But the DEO says it will not be a problem moving forward and “the Reemployment assistance team is working diligently to resolve the issue and projects that this should be corrected by the end of the week.”

Meanwhile, as claimants continue to battle problems in the CONNECT system, Eskamani says it will likely be the middle of 2021 before lawmakers can make any official changes to the system or the process.

That’s because while committee weeks start in January, the actual session doesn’t begin until March. She also says new bills and budget decisions are not usually in place until July.

“If we’re solely looking at the traditional legislative calendar there’s not going to be enough time that will actually make an impact immediately for working families,” she said. “Instead it’ll be a stretched-out process and you might not even see action from the legislator based on the current leadership until July 1st.”

We’re still waiting for the DEO to announce the date when extended benefits will kick in for folks who qualify, all we know now is that it’s sometime this month.