NewsFlorida News


Florida makes improvements to unemployment benefits website, phone line

Posted at 2:13 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 14:27:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Major improvements have been made to make it easier for Floridians to file for unemployment benefits, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday.

"This virus has rocked the economic foundations of our state and our country," the governor said during an economic roundtable in Tallahassee.

DeSantis said Florida's Claims Assistance Center received 3.8 million calls last week, and the state's CONNECT website has been overwhelmed with traffic.

That's led to many Floridians being unable to access the website or phone system.

"We are in a situation where people have lost their jobs, they're looking for relief, and they are having a lot of difficulty," the governor said.

To fix those difficulties, DeSantis said that Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity added 72 servers to increase capacity on the CONNECT site.

"The system can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connections by individuals filing claims," DeSantis said. "Recently we've been in the 40,000 to 60,000 connection range."

Those servers will not only prevent the website from crashing, according to the governor, but they will also improve the speed of the site.

"The latency on the website used to be as high as 72 seconds. Now it's less than one second," DeSantis said.

The governor added that 250 additional staff members started taking calls at the Claims Assistance Center on Monday, and another 500 are being trained to take calls starting on Tuesday.

"That's 750, and we may increase even more from there," DeSantis said.

To apply for unemployment benefits in Florida, click here or call Florida's Claims Assistance Center at 1-800-204-2418.

The entire state of Florida is now under a "safer-at-home" order until at least April 30.

Residents are urged not to leave their homes unless it's for essential services or activities like going to the grocery store, gas station, health care facilities, pharmacy, or child care centers, among others.

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are more than 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, along with 236 deaths.

More than 103,000 Floridians have tested negative for the virus.

For the latest information about coronavirus cases in Florida, click here.