Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity offered this statement in response to Craig Patrick's questions about problems with the new unemployment website:
From: Sims, Jessica [mailto:Jessica.Sims@deo.myflorida.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 4:39 PM
To: Craig Patrick
Subject: DEO Inquiry - CONNECT
Dear Mr. Patrick,
Thank you for contacting the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Please see the information below and let me know if we can be of any further assistance.
Overall, the new system is operational, has converted nearly two billion records from the old system, and is successfully processing thousands of claimants per hour. In the first two days of operation, more than 50,000 individuals submitted claims.
Nonetheless, and as expected, some users have encountered delays and problems accessing the system. Some of those issues are technical and some are an inevitable result of user acclimation to a new online interface. Our best estimate is that only a small overall percentage of claimants are experiencing technical problems, but we are acutely aware that for these claimants what matters is their particular case. We want to reassure these claimants that they will not lose any benefits to which they are entitled.
DEO's number one priority is to ensure claimants and employers can easily access the system. To that end, we have had teams working around the clock since before the launch to identify, prioritize, and fix issues that individuals are facing. The two most significant issues we have seen thus far are that (1) some claimants are having trouble entering their PIN numbers and (2) some claimants are not seeing an option to enter claim-weeks.
For claimants experiencing PIN issues, a dedicated team and phone line is being established to address that specific question. We have also made programming changes that should resolve issues for many having a problem (those with PINs with a leading zero).
The claim-weeks issue is two-fold. First, some claimants are not seeing a second week to claim. This is not a technical error. It is a product of the transition to a new system and putting some claimants on a revised two-week cycle. Claimants will be able to claim two weeks on their assigned claim day next week. Second, some claimants were not seeing any option for claiming weeks. This was a technical error and will be fixed by Friday. No claimant will be denied any benefits they are entitled to as a result of these issues or any other reasons.
Again, we are committed to helping all users of the system and we are working nonstop to address issues that arise. We appreciate the users who have written to and called the Department to report errors and we ask for their continued cooperation and patience.
Jessica K. Sims
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity