MIAMI – Ongoing efforts continue as the state tries to fix the backlog on Florida's unemployment website.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the unemployment system a clunker, and put Jonathan Satter in charge of fixing the system that was unable to handle the capacity when Floridians began filing for unemployment in record numbers.
“The most important metric for me is processing applications as quickly as we can,” Satter said Tuesday during a video chat with Local 10 News’ Glenna Milberg.
According to Satter, payouts were being made at twice the speed of last week, to a deluge of the suddenly out of work population in Florida, but he said he has to take the system offline to people overnight in order to do so.
"We’re applying all resources during daylight," he explained. "That’s why we split the shifts; applications in the day, processing at night."
Tuesday morning, a new, dedicated process finally went live for independent contractors, people like makeup artist Rory Lee.
Lee is a month into lost bookings, and has had no income.
"To go from 25-plus bookings to zero in a 24 hour span, that was a scary, anxious experience," Lee said. "And then not to know how to navigate, or where to go for help, is a scary experience."
Clearly, Satter’s intention is to calm those fears.
But with a ramp-up in payouts has also come an increase in rejections. Two out of every five have been deemed ineligible for the 12 weeks of unemployment compensation.
"There are a number of reasons why somebody could be deemed ineligible," Satter said. "We are going back through the process and identifying how we can help those folks and make sure their applications are complete, so we can run them through the system again."
Satter made clear that he and his team are doing everything they can to make the system as efficient as possible, but acknowledged that what they are working with is far from perfect.
“There are going to be some times when it runs a little slow, but we’re doing the best we can with the system we have got,” he said. “We’re hopeful that as we get people in the payment cues, the demand on system resources will decrease over time.”