Many say CONNECT system remains faulty as thousands go on server to claim unemployment weeks

Claiming Your Unemployment Weeks

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -As several businesses begin to re-open across the state through phase 1, thousands remain unemployed.

While many people are still waiting on their initial benefits, the state is now requiring people to claim their weeks.

Re-certification was previously waived along with work search requirements.

But beginning this week everyone will need to claim their weeks even if your claim is pending for review.

The DEO says this process is to confirm that a person is still unemployed and acknowledges that they are able and available for work should it be offered.

The waiver for work search requirements was extended until May 30th.

“We also extended the waiver for doing the two-week re-certification till the end of the month,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

That was a statement made by Governor Ron DeSantis in Fort Myers Monday afternoon. He misspoke giving thousands of Floridians incorrect information.

Gov. DeSantis in Ft. Myers

Governor DeSantis during his press conference in Ft. Myers this afternoon said he extended the recertification waiver... he didn't. Work search requirements were waived until May 30 however claiming your unemployment weeks was not. The DEO has been tweeting since yesterday reminding people that you DO have to claim your weeks. DEO on May 10: "Tomorrow beginning at 8am, claimants will be able to access the CONNECT system to claim their weeks. Weeks must be claimed for both PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) and state #reemploymentassistance benefits." Here's a helpful link on how to claim your weeks: #FLUnemployment ABC7 Sarasota - WWSB

Posted by Daniela Hurtado on Monday, May 11, 2020

The DEO announced that starting this week to comply with federal law people are required to claim their weeks.

"I was able to get online this morning at 8 and it told me that I needed to claim weeks and it also said that I needed to look for employment," said furloughed hotel worker, Amber Grama.

Others weren’t as lucky. Many sharing on social media that they were getting kicked off the CONNECT system.

“I have been trying to get on the DEO website, CONNECT, today. I’ve tried four times and it just is what it is. It’s the exact same place we have been for weeks which is unfortunate. You just can’t get on it’s a server error over and over again,” said Sarasota residents Kelly Paige.

Some people even told us they haven’t even tried to claim their weeks yet and are in disbelief. They’re calling this process another hurdle.

“I’m beyond being angry. I’m over the edge. I can’t believe. This is beyond my belief as a human being that the state that I work in and I call my home could treat me this way,and treat everyone this way. I just can’t believe it,” said Sarasota resident Bill Holemo.

The Governor mentioned during Monday’s press conference that waiving the biweekly claims would mean less people would be on the system and this could help the state focus on processing benefits.

We reached out to the Governor’s office to see where the miscommunication was between the Governor and the DEO on claiming week but we haven’t received an answer from his team, yet.

We also asked the DEO several questions including why so many of you kept getting kicked off the system and if the CONNECT server could handle hundreds of thousands of people at the same time. The DEO told us they’d get back to us...but we’re still waiting for a response.

Don’t know how to claim your weeks? Here’s a link that shows step-by-step.

Need DEO help? Here’s their number: 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759)

Having issues with the phone line? Try this.

PUA questions? Watch this.

Press releases from the DEO can be accessed here.

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