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Florida Taking Unemployment Website Down This Weekend

Unemployment claim form

Rushing to reduce a massive backlog of claims created as businesses shuttered due to the coronavirus, Florida’s unemployment agency announced Friday that it has now processed more than 31 percent of unemployment claims, with payments of up to $275 a week going out to 22 percent of the applicants.

However, residents continue to express frustrations about being cut off from the state’s online CONNECT unemployment system and not being able to get through to call centers for assistance.

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The Department of Economic Opportunity also took the CONNECT system offline Friday, and it will remain unavailable to Floridians until Monday morning.

Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, who was put in in charge of the system last week, says the agency will be working all weekend to process applications that have already been filed, adding staff can do that more quickly when the website is down.

“We needed all the processing power we could get, to process payments,” Satter said. “We have a number of large batch jobs that were ready. Rather than place a lot of drain on the system today and over the weekend, we said ‘let’s take it down’. Let’s process as many payments as we can.”

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With the main site down, the state has made a second system available for people to apply and DEO is still accepting paper applications.

However, claimants will not be able to check for updates to their status this weekend.

The state has now processed nearly 220,000 claims, out of 700,000 unique submissions.

In total, about 154,000 claimants have been paid nearly $160 million.