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Unemployed Floridians say CONNECT won't let them claim remaining weeks as federal benefits expire

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 06, 2021

TAMPA, Fla — As of the July 2021 workforce statistics, 530,000 Floridians find themselves without a job on Labor Day because of COVID-19.

“I’ve applied to everything. I’m down to elder care, and customer service which I have 20 years of experience in customer service and I can’t even get a callback,” said Judi Murphy, who has been on unemployment since March 2020.

She has a part-time job but hopes two full-time positions she applied for, and interviewed for, will come through.

“I don’t know, I’m crossing my fingers that one of them works out,” she said.

That tenacity is what this American holiday is all about and it comes at an incredibly difficult time.

“I have gone and gotten food from food banks. That has never happened, I’ve never been food insecure. Now I am,” she said. “Now I am.”

This weekend, PUA and PEUC, two federal benefit programs, came to an end with no benefit programs on the horizon. At the same time, folks who have attempted to log in to CONNECT and get the remaining weeks owed to them are now unable to claim because their status has been changed to “suspended” with no explanation.

“The whole thing is a big kluge of duct tape and scotch tape and everything they can find to keep it running,” Murphy said.

We’ve reached out to the DEO to find out why people can’t claim their weeks. We’re waiting to hear back.