FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop at the Urban League of Broward County Friday to hold a briefing on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after he announced new orders that he said should speed up the unemployment process.
That order gets rid of the requirement that people on unemployment must log on to the website bi-weekly to say they’re still looking for work. They’ve even added 100 new servers to try and handle the load of people that are trying to log on since so far only 4 percent of applicants have been processed and paid.
“I’m grateful that I have family and a little bit of savings to keep me going, but that’s not going to happen much longer,” Reynaldo Almeida, who is unemployed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said.
Almeida used to work as a pier agent for a major cruise line at Port Everglades and as a substitute teacher.
He’s also one of the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who say the jobs website is absolutely impossible.
“It is the most frustrating experience and stress inducing,” Almeida said. “Imagine that you’re depending on that money to pay your mortgage, to pay your lights, your cell phone, and every time you get the same message or you’re kicked out.”
On Thursday, Local 10 News learned that 850,000 Floridians are still waiting for their applications to be processed, while only about 33,600 people who applied after the COVID-19 outbreak, have actually been paid.
“What I’ve said is we’ve got to do better than that, and so, since the beginning of the crisis I’ve waived three laws to be able to expedite relief going out,” DeSantis said.
During Friday’s news conference, the governor announced the state had brought in more people to deal with the extra applications and even put in 100 new servers to try and handle the online traffic that has slowed the website to a halt.
He said they’re doing everything they can to catch up.
“Last week, we sent out 35,000 payments,” DeSantis said. “This week, we’ve already sent out 100,000 payments to people, and that’s more than we did all this year up to this current crisis.”
The governor called this the top economic priority.
He said in all of last year, they only received 350,000 applications for unemployment. More than half that number applied just last week in Florida.