STATEWIDE — Some welcomed news for people across Florida Monday morning who have been out of work: people filing for unemployment should be able to access the state’s filing website for the first time since last Thursday.
The CONNECT website is back up Monday morning and accessible to Florida’s unemployment filers. The website went down on Friday morning and was down all weekend.
Charter Communications has temporarily opened its live stream free to the public. You can watch Spectrum News via our live stream on your desktop or laptop without a subscription by visiting our website and clicking “Watch Live” in the upper right. Charter also is temporarily offering free broadband and wifi access for 60 days to teachers and families with K-12 or college students. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. The company also will open more than half a million wifi hotspots across the country.
Instead of being able to access the site, filers were greeted with a message that said due to the large number of unemployment payouts it was processing, the website would be down until Monday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said again on Sunday that the state is doing the best it can with a system that was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people filing for unemployment in the last several weeks.
“So now you have a crush where you’re having hundreds of thousands people apply, and so this has been done 24/7 we have people work on it. I don’t think we’ve probably ever have an agency work as hard on a single problem as far as man hours that people are putting in,” DeSantis said.
Spectrum News talked to numerous people over the pasts several weeks who’ve had to spend hours and days online and on the phone trying to file. And the station also heard from people who say they filed back in March, but still have not gotten unemployment benefit checks, despite people who have filed since then getting checks.
On Monday, Former Florida governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist along with other Democratic lawmakers will call on DeSantis to expand the state’s unemployment benefits.
Crist was governor during the Great Recession. At that time, he ordered the duration of unemployment benefits to be expanded. He says DeSantis should do the same.
Currently, state unemployment benefits are at $275 a week and only last for 12 weeks. Democrats want unemployment to expand to 26 weeks like it was in 2008.
Florida ranks among the worst in the nation for weekly unemployment benefits.