A stopgap solution meant to assist thousands of out-of-work Floridians with unemployment help is now available. The mobile-friendly website has been brought online for Floridians who have yet to complete or submit a reemployment assistance application.
The site, FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication, should now be up and running while the main reemployment website, CONNECT, a $77 Million system first implemented under Governor Rick Scott, is down for maintenance. That system crashed under a surge of applications when the state received 400,000 unemployment insurance claims, surpassing the weekly claims peak during the 2008-2011 Great Recession.
During the week ending on March 28th, 2020 more than 220,000 claims came in versus the then-record 40,403 filed during the week ending on January 17, 2009.
State Representative Randy Fine on Facebook Wednesday afternoon told constituents that the state was working to fix the CONNECT system, but also added that prior to the coronavirus outbreak, no one would ever have built a system robust enough to handle the levels of website traffic they were seeing.
“We went from the lowest unemployment ever to the highest unemployment in a couple of weeks,” Fine said. “No system would have worked.”
The move to roll out a mobile friendly alternative comes just days after Governor Ron DeSantis signed executive order 20-93, allowing for all statewide agencies to “take all necessary actions to improve the Reemployment Assistance program:
“The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is committed to ensuring Floridians are able to receive the benefits owed to them during this global pandemic,” said Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.“The team is working around the clock to make the process for applying for Reemployment Assistance as easy as possible for Floridians.”
DEO has also introduced paper applications as an extra way to send off their paperwork. ” If a Floridian chooses to submit a paper application for Reemployment Assistance benefits, they should mail their application to DEO, and a representative will call when their application is processed. “
Paper applications can be mailed to:
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
P.O. Box 5350
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350
Florida’s total new unemployment applications are actually slightly down this week, due in part to the system crashing.