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Unemployment website issues extend past deadline

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Updated: 12/20/2013 6:23 pm
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced another $3 million in additional fines against the company responsible for building the states new unemployment website that's riddled with technical issues.

Deloitte Consulting was required to correct all issues by Friday, December 20, which was pushed back from the original deadline of November 15.

John Vanek is one of the thousands of Floridans who've become endlessly frustrated with issues within the $63 million dollar taxpayer paid website. Vanek is an FSCJ student from Clay Country who's lost two jobs this year. He's been eligible for unemployment benefits since August, but has never received a penny, and so far the state has few answers.

"I call a dozen times each week and sot on hold for at least an hour. They tell me I'm eligible, the system's glitchy, it's not working right. I spoke with the Governor's Office and they promised it would be fixed, but nothing. It's so frustrating."

The CONNECT website launched on October 15 and since then thousands of complaints have been filed. The designer, Deloitte Consulting, has already been fined $1.5 million and required to correct all issues but on Friday's deadline it still showed Vanek was employed at both of those old jobs.

"They fixed my problem by making it worse. Now it doesn't even show that I've attempted to contact employers which is a requirement to get my benefits."

Meanwhile he's pawned almost everything he owns just to get by.

"I've already sold my TV and my Playstation. Within the week, if this isn't resolved, my car's gone. My laptop that I use for school will have to be sent back."

As Action News visited with Vanek, his cell phone company called to inform him his service would be cut off later in the day if he couldn't pay in full.

"What am I supposed to do?"

It's a double whammy this holiday, since earlier this week Congress failed to extend federal benefits under the budget plan. If something isn't done those benefits will run out December 28, leaving behind many headaches and fewer presents under Vaneks tree this Christmas.

"It's driving me crazy. It's time. I'm out of time."

The state will continue to fine Deloitte Consulting $15,000 a day until those issues are resolved.

Florida's unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in November, down from 6.7 percent in October, the state Department of Economic Opportunity announced Friday. The mark is the lowest for the state since July 2008.

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John Vanek - 12/20/2013 7:40 PM
0 Votes
Yeah its a very bad and sad scenario. Having to sell almost everything I own just to get by with college and looking for a job while the state figures out how it can even begin to fix what they have done to my account is very depressing. Specially with Christmas next week! I just have to keep fighting until it is hopefully fixed. Once the car is gone next week, then I just don't know what they expect me to do..... J Vanek

legaljax - 12/20/2013 7:24 PM
0 Votes
It is insane on the turnaround time it takes for a "ticket" to be submitted to have your issue worked on when contacting the unemployment office at 800-204-2418. They will not submit another ticket to any department again until 2 weeks has expired. At least with the old system FLUID it appeared that you could get through to an agent and things could be handled directly. However with this new CONNECT system it seems as faulty as the website created for Obama's Affordable Healthcare. It would almost appear that it is almost intentionally faulty to allow the system to keep your money and earn interest while families are suffering and losing everything like their homes, vehicles, even utilities. Has our government even contemplated what to expect by cutting everyone off of emergency unemployment assistance all at once? I fear that crime will be on the rise and families will be desperate enough to commit crimes to survive. When things get bad, psychologically speaking, survival instincts kick in and individuals in these situations become primitive in their thinking. This is a definite wake up call and a very very sad scenario.
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