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Unemployment claims missing deadline

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Updated: 11/01/2013 7:03 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Vanessa Austin has been trying to file an unemployment claim for days.

"So far, she's spent more than 15 hours making desperate calls for help."

"We stayed on hold for three hours yesterday and no one ever came to the phone. "

For Austin, and thousands of others, the state's new website to distribute vital benefits isn't working, and it's a $63 million problem.

CONNECT was launched two weeks ago by the Department of Economic Opportunity, and it's filled with technical issues.

"They ought to be responsible for setting up a faulty website," said Sen. Bill Nelson on Friday.

Nelson is now calling for a federal investigation, to push the Department of Economic Opportunity to fix the issues now. If they don't, he says, the state's economy could take a devastating blow.

"We're trying to resuscitate the economy. Get us back where this economic engine is moving again. It's inexcusable."

A DEO spokesman tells Action News they're working around the clock with designers to correct the issues. On Friday afternoon, a spokesperson announced the two biggest issues - logging in and broken links to claim weeks - should be fixed by Monday.

When we met Austin, she still couldn't log in.

"How can we proceed and submit this claim by the deadline? We don't know."

If she doesn't, she said her family will suffer.

"We'll have no money for groceries and no rent pay. Something needs to be done."

The DOE said it will also extend phone bank hours to keep hold times down, and that they will work with those who are having trouble paying their bills as a result of the website glitches.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

mskitty202 - 11/8/2013 5:52 AM
0 Votes
Same thing here. Can't pay power, electric, phone, cable, auto insurance, auto payment, short on rent and praying for a miracle. And there are so many worse situations than ours; just look at the DEO Facebook page to see all the desperate posts. The State of Florida has abandoned us and left us destitute and no one is giving us any answers. This should be front page news, but it is being covered up by our elected officials. I know come election time I will be in line day one to vote them all out.

jsanchez0583 - 11/4/2013 10:37 AM
0 Votes
My husband has been waiting for his unemployment checks since the first week in August. He was approved for training, he was explained this wasn't going to affect his bi-weekly payments. Not only did his payments stop, now his license is on the verge of being suspended because he hasn't been able to pay his child support, we're about to be homeless because I can't afford all the bills on my own, and they can't give us a straight answer other than "You'll have to wait". It's been 4mo. how long does our family have to suffer?
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