The majority of technical “glitches” that first confronted users of the state’s overhauled unemployment computer system appear to have been smoothed out.
A spokeswoman for the agency said Monday that the system is working for “a vast majority of claimants.”
However, the Department of Economic Opportunity’s $62.8 million system called “Connect” continues to struggle for some users.
Claims by jobless people that are flagged for investigation or are under appeal continue to be a major hurdle to correct.
“We’re working tirelessly to make sure that those issues are resolved,” said department spokeswoman Monica Russell. “And we want to make sure that all claimants, and those that are entitled to receive benefits, will receive them.”
The new state system went online shortly after the federal health-care website had its own not-so-spectacular introduction in October.
The Department of Economic Opportunity’s goal is to complete the remaining conversion issues by Dec. 20.
The investigation and appeals issues, known as “back-end processes,” have been the biggest bugs for the new system.
The problem was highlighted when department Director Jesse Panuccio and Jessica Blume, an official with Minneapolis-based Deloitte Consulting, appeared before state Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee to discuss the new system on Nov. 4.
The changeover, which is in part covered with federal tax dollars, includes about $28.2 million for Deloitte Consulting to set up the website.
In exchange for $1.5 million in contractual relief and credits, Deloitte was given an extension from Nov. 15 to Dec. 20 to improve the appeals issues, according to Department of Economic Opportunity records.
Deloitte was penalized $4.5 million last year due to project delays.
“We contracted for a fully operational system and we want to make sure we get that,” Russell said.
Otherwise, the system is working at “pre-Connect levels” in terms of payments to claimants, she said.
A Twitter account set up to help people resolve problems hasn’t been needed to provide responses in more than a month, but the agency’s call centers continue to be busy, with nearly 7,000 calls requiring “live customer interactions” just last Friday.
Since the Oct. 15 launch, more than 600,000 claims have been filed, with more than $171 million paid out.
Department officials have said the new system is designed to be more user friendly, can be used 24 hours a day and is expected to be easier for the department to maintain.
Connect has been in the works since 2009 to replace a 30-year-old system people used to claim their weekly benefits, monitor accounts and request information. The department provides up to $275 weekly to more than 200,000 jobless Floridians.
The call centers will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.
“We’ll be open Friday and Saturday and Sunday and we will continue to do so until the majority of issues have been resolved,” Russell said.
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
The state of Florida requires that, in order to file for a CLAIM unemployment, that proof of 5 job interviews per week be received. FIVE per week.
No surprise here that fraud investigations are slowing the system down.
Sandra Sites says
Not interviews, Genie, applications – proof that you have submitted at least 5 applications. Which is what one who in unemployed and looking for work is supposed to be doing anyhow…
What a fraud to change an old unemployment benefit web site system that worked, for one costing over 30 millions to us all and that is not working!! After all the unemployment insurance we all pay upfront in every pay check we earn!! Is not a given or hand out …we all earn it!
Rocky Mac says
Did I read that right, $28 million? I must have just come out from under a rock, but that much money sure would benefit the recipients right about now.
The Florida Republican run State system that hates Obamacare and will do anything to mock, defame and defeat it seems to have similar problems with their own newly launched, much heralded employment website. But they seem to have plenty of excuses and patience to spare when it comes to their own difficulties and mistakes. Talk about a double standard!
My claim has been stuck in a ajudication for a month and a half. Still have not got any benifits.
@ neverwas: Unless you have submitted proof of 5 job requests per week, you very likely will not be receiving that money.
Ben Dover says
That`s Scott`s doing , just like the rethuglacans are sabotaging the ACA web site, Gov Rick Scott is this unemployment site, he changed its name , but what he really wanted to call it was Screw U Get A Job, only him and the rest of the political thugs that turn down money for the needy, so it ends up in their pockets in bogus other projects in the future, let all the illegals in , let them work off the books for businesses all over the state , it doesn t affect his or his ilks world, so it doesn t matter, mean while the people that employ illegals are screwing the economy not only by taking jobs from Americans , but are not paying taxes either on their employees, greed is destroying the job market , the economy and our country , soon their will only be very Rich and very Poor people, and a class war will break out and it will be the collapse of capitalism , we will no longer be a free country , we will be a communist police state, we`re already losing all our privacy rights , camera`s on every corner , phone tapping , computer hacking , drones are next , its a shame a country that used to be a caring all for one and one for all kind of mentality has turned into a greed driven , screw every and anyone you can type country , I had a friend I `ve known for 42 yrs , rich as hell , but like all his kind , cry poor mouth , deny me work to keep me from losing my Dr, said he only had enough work for him and his crew,…all illegal Mexicans, the guy used to come pick his date up at my house who is now his wife for over 30 yrs, his greed hurt the most, one time like 15 yrs ago we`re all hanging out , he says lets brain storm come up with a money making business, I came up with a Tree Service , I did it up north in the town were all from, whose last name ended in wood, I even said we could call the business Boys From The Wood as a pun on the movie , we did a few jobs, taught him how to notch out and rope a tree down , next thing I know the business is called something very closely resembling his last name and I`m out of it,…….. but then he screwed a priest over on floor buffing machine so why not me too, I lost respect for him yrs ago, I didn t even want to call him and ask for work , but my G/F pushed me, said I met him, he`.ll help you ,but like Scott, hes the type that will offer you a glass of water when your drowning , he puts on a good front like all the greedy people of this world do , go to church , act like they are good people, but the only thing they care about is more money, and they don t care who they screw to get it, we need Scott gone and time limits set on senate seats or this country is doomed,
It is truly disgusting how our government handles our money. They spend millions on unnecessary things, while preventing our money from going to the people who need it the most. We need to change government and do it now, before we the people have nothing left to show for our hard earned tax dollars.
tom jack says
My wife was laid off in June. It initially took 8 weeks under the old system for her to be approved and start receiving benefits. She has had no, none, zero problems filing or receiving benefits under the new system. But then she had a legitimate claim and actually DOES what is required to continue to receive her benefits.
Sandra Sites says
Those of us who are having trouble with obtaining benefits have legitimate claims as well, the only difference is that we were unlucky enough to have to apply AFTER the new system went into effect with all of the problems it has run into. I resent the implication that we are not doing what is required to receive our benefits. I am glad your wife is receiving the benefits she is entitled to, that is all that I and the others who’ve been caught in this mess want for ourselves.