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Bill Nelson wants feds to investigate Florida's unemployment website

via Brittany Davis, @brit_alana

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for a federal investigation into problems plaguing Florida’s new unemployment website.

The Florida Democrat has asked the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate what is going wrong with the $63 million overhaul, which has erroneously blocked some jobless people from applying for their benefits.

The new system, called CONNECT, launched three weeks ago and is intended to make accessing Florida's unemployment benefits easier. Florida is working with Deloitte, the contractor that built the site, to iron out glitches, according to Jessica Sims, a state spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, frustrated claimants continue to post on the DEO Facebook page and email Gov. Rick Scott. Dozens more have contacted Naked Politics.

Nelson, in a news release, said the problems must be fixed.

“While states administer their own unemployment compensation program … they do so under the Department of Labor which oversees many of the programs our nation has for American workers, including unemployment benefits,” Nelson wrote in a letter to Perez.  "The main purpose behind this federal-state program is to help stabilize the economy during recessions.  But it certainly won't be of much help in my state if those who have lost their jobs face protracted delays in seeking or receiving benefits."

The relationship between the U.S. Labor Department and how Florida processes unemployment claims is already tense. Federal officials say Florida violated the civil rights of unemployed individuals because it required them to apply online for benefits.

The launch of CONNECT came shortly after the Oct. 1 debut of the Obamacare website, which has been under fire from Republicans and Democrats for its poor performance.





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Tally Gurl

Blatant fraud by the Scott administration. Maybe this time he'll serve some time.


There is public record of Deloitte immediately funneling most likely our own taxpayer money they are being overpaid by these politicians right back into their campaigns....Sneaky Sneaky. Wish a deep investigation would take place. This is a dirty game the governor plays. He got away with 1.7 billion in false insurance claims for a small fine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIYad3TvY6Q Can't wait to vote this guy out. He is a criminal. Gave $63 million dollars away to an India IT company for a system that is beyond "glitchy" it's a total bomb.


Here is the Deloitte purchases and lobbying efforts in Florida for the new connect system.

S. Rowell

I believe beyond all doubt, Rick Scott will pay a political price for this "Connect" debacle. Connect is intentionally delaying or stealing federal funds from Floridians that are intended for the unemployed. Investigate the Tier three benefit system and you will find that the DEO is trying to keep these funds for themselves.

Jason Brickhouse

I emailed the US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today along with Rick Scott. The employees that are running the DEO are inept. Today I was told at the One Stop Career center that they were sorry they couldn't help me claim my tier 3 benefits because they help people find jobs. What about my weeks current unemployment benefits that I need to survive?


I received an phone call at 8:35 and it rang twice and disconnected. I called back 5 times then was connected. At 9:15 the call started with Miriam Camacho. I was placed on hold and then she came back and said she found no notes on why I was called. She again advised me of my pending adjudication status. I advised her that this has been the status since September. She agreed it has been a long time. She said she looked and on September 28th an email was sent to the adjudication dept to speed up determination. It takes 14 for response. She said she could send another and ask to be reviewed faster. She said in customer service they are limited. Her parting sentiment was that it usually never gets to a 3rd email having to be sent to that department. I should hear something hopefully. This is pure run around. I am down to $3 dollars on my food stamp card and it doesn't get replenished till the 6th . This is so discouraging. I am not on medicine I need due to lack of healthcare and money. How am I going to get to a job with no money? This is horrible for the state to be so nonchalant. The governor can spend $63 million on the website and $500,000 for renovations but lets forget the small people.

Ed Jenkins

The confused old senator last seen yelling at cars prior to his last election now wants to know how a website works. This old man should have been retired years ago and now we have to put up with the results of his dementia like this.


Florida's Unemployment Tax Program needs to be de-certified by the US Dept of Labor which would result in an imediate tax increase to all Florida Companies to pay for this mess.


Come on Senator Nelson. This is not like you. It's too soon for such severe judgments. Please don't jump on the anti-obamacare bandwagon for political expediency using the "unemployment folks" as a political skateboard. Your power and influence far exceed such low standards. Truth is, and all due respect to the few unhappy folks that have written (just an aside ... Hang in there a few days)... This entire revamp of the computer was conceived and designed to provide you BETTER Service. Oh, I guess I should add for credibility purposes that no ... I do not work for DEO nor the State of Florida. Having said, I know for an absolute fact that hundreds of DEO leadership and staff are working very hard with one simple pure motive and that is to improve service delivery to those deserving and in need. The only thing I would ask Senator (and concerned few others) ... Give it a few more days.

judy july

People who don't know what they are talking about should not put down Senator Nelson. There are more then just a few people being affected by this new CONNECT system. It is thousands. It has been going on for almost a month. It took that long for the news media to finally realize it is a real problem and for Tallahassee to be accountable and stop saying it has a few glitches. This is not charity this is to help people who have worked their whole life and now need some help. We who are affected by this are thankful for our elected officials for standing up for the people of Florida.


The systems is still not working. Yes someone should investigate! 4 weeks with no access, everything pending, wrong/duplicate information all over my application that they inserted, calling 10 - 20 times a day to be hung up on. Finally talked to a person 8 days ago, there is a "known problem" and someone will call me back, that will take "a bit of time" but no estimate as to how long, still haven't heard from them. Of course I've tried to call again, but due to their "high call volume" they just tell you to call back later and hang up on you once again.


Goodness here I am thinking I am the only one with adjudication dept issue since September I have been waiting for them to release any payment pending. I check everyday online and it says the same thing everyday. GOd forbid you attemp to actually speak with someone you can try calling hundred times in one day and your lucky if you get thru. How can a system that cost so much to make it easier be so hard to get things done for these representatives who are taking the calls not to mention the rep you do speak to has no real answers for you.

Chris C

@ Ed Jenkins, what does your Republican ass have ANYTHING to do with the subject at hand?!? Keep your complaining power trip ego nonsense seperate from the daily issues Americana face and what Bill Nelson clearly points that needs to be fixed. At least Bill Nelson addresses the issues of the American people in an attempt for a resolution. Carlos Trujilo, Rick Scott, and the entire state GOP are nitrous from funneling campaign money from rich people. Spending $400 million to feed you propaganda ads and psychogical tatics just to go make you vote Republican. Tell me are you that 3% of the people making more than $250,000 a year. I am sure that is not the case. Better to have a broken system in Obamacare then have unregulated.private health insurance companies tell you that you have been denied coverage because of a preexisting condition only to put more money in their pockets and giving two shits about you in the process. Wake up dude!


I too have had major problems with the connect system. I was told that I am disqualified because I supposedly didn't post my resume nor take a skills review. I did those things on the old system. Then they moved to the connect system and apparently my data was not picked up. I am a software engineer and I know how to use online systems. This one is a joke. Its the most confusing thing I've ever used and no way to find out if you've done your part correctly or not. Way overly complicated. Basic links like logging in and claiming weeks are hidden and hard to find. I believe the republicans are doing this deliberately to block unemployment payments that they are ideologically opposed to. I was laid off and my job sent to India. But I deserve it, right? I'm just a lazy bum according to the republicans, like all unemployed people. I was making over $1000 a week and they think I'm going to sit around being a bum for $275 a week? Pleasssse.

Diplo Tek

Is anyone interested in a class action suit against the DEO for rejecting our legitimate claims because of their poorly run website and cryptic EULA-style instructions? I'm out about $1000 after being between jobs for 5 weeks because they claim I didn't finish the resume portion of the file. I had NO IDEA it was not completed and didn't find out until weeks later. If so, contact me at diplotek @ gmail.com. There's strength in numbers so let's fight this together!


I filed on Oct 1st, have done everything correctly and as of today I still haven't received one penny in benefits. Keep getting fact findings and there is no way to respond on the website and getting them on the phone is impossible. I've been selling off whatever I could to survive. This whole thing is a pathetic joke. Someone needs to be accountable.

william hodgkins

I was able to log on and see inf but cannot open any of the documents and I have adobe 11. Shut off the pop up blocker and verified that nothing is being blocked but still cant see any info. I claimed wks over a month but rcvd nothing to date and am suppose to file again on the 6th. Recorded phone message says my claim ran out, a ltr in the mail says Im eligible for 206 a wk but nothing yet. It definetly is a messed up site. When I filed the new claim it asked for 7 years of employment stats from the company I worked. Do you have paystubs from 7 years ago???? this is just plain confusing and frustrating.

M Hoover

Give it a break people.......Republican/ Democrat (there both worthless and need to go out with the garbage) The state can't fire these morons that run DEO, their government workers.
The only hope of fixing this issue is for someone to investigate it on the news level - a few media news vans outside the DEO office will generate more response than Bill calling for a federal investigation (all that will do is waste more tax money and get his name mentioned a few times)
But the news media will only lightly comment, has if their intimadated by the state..... come on man, grow a set!!!

Jeff Scott

Dear Gov. Scott:

People are hurting, me included. I'm an over 55, downsized business executive who has unfortunately found himself in an all to familiar situation. Finding work,especially in this economy has been particularly frustrating, primarily because of my age. Not getting answers, not being able to get through, having an agent tell me that someone will call, but receiving nothing...is this the way to treat those in less fortunate situations. I believe that a mistake was made by someone in your administration, but ultimately the buck stops with you. How much more damage must be done to the Republican Party in general? People have long memories. Come on sir, place a priority on getting those problems fixed now. Give us a way to get things resolved. Most of corporate America uses a Ticket system online to at least let people know their case is being worked on. If things stay as the status quo, I predict Charlie Crist as the next Governor, and the GOP splitting into factions. Maybe Christie from New Jersey can give you a few pointers about bedside manner.


This system is a joke. I have been claiming weeks since the end of August.....the weeks had all been disqualified. A adjudicator looked over the claims and have now approved the payments. Great, right? Nope, there is a known "gliche" that requires someone in Tallahassee to manually remove the hold, even though an adjudicator said the payments are allowed. I will claim my weeks again tomorrow and according to the rep I spoke to today they too will be disqualified. But not to worry soon I should get all my funds, be patient. Bahahahahaha, this is so funny. Do they think the electric, and water companies will accept that. Nope, nor do they care. $63 million on a system that has been nothing but a nightmare!!!!

Robert Turner

This system is very frustrating, I wish Scott would have kept to cancelling this rollout and save the State $63 million dollars. as of this morning I can no longer log into the system, no prompt telling me that the site is down, called the 1 800 number and waited 30 minutes to find out that the call center can't log in to the system either. I am still waiting for the then to amend my account that they promised to amend last Tuesday (7 days) ago. How can anyone in their right mind justify $63 million dollars when the old system as LEAST WORKED

Suzanne Campbell

This is an outrage. First I was disqualified. Now I am able to claim 2 weeks but I got kicked off the system and now I can't log in. Deloitte farms out the programming to companies like India and Pakistan. The programmers are not paid well and really do not understand programming. There are a lot of redundancies and syntax errors in the code that are nearly impossible to clean up. Same with the ACA website. Shame on the Deloitte and CMS. I hope the State and Federal governments sue them. Perhaps the Attorneys General should investigate. Total waste of taxpayer money. Disgusting. I wouldn't hire either one of those companies to program a personal blog on Wordpress.


I also called this morning to be told the system was down.. I'm sure everyone here can agree that when you call and finally hear the magical ring of getting through the lines. It's like finding a million dollars.... but wait.... The lady gets on the phone saying "sorry sir we can only answer general questions"
General question.... are you f++king kidding me?!? How do you explain to your kids who look up to you that daddy can't keep the lights on!! I'm sorry but just to know that 63 million dollars was used to build this crap site. So those of you telling us to not worry and wait a few days because these issues are being resolved can lick my left nut...


Contact your state representative in fl. Eleanor sobel 954-924-3693 orrichard stark 954-217-0287. We should not have to pay for their glitch.

Broke Busted Disgusted

I too stopped receiving funds with the CONNECT start date. Education cuts left me jobless, but searching...Government shutdown put my husband on furlough. I hate that people talk about how terrible Florida has become, but yikes! This reemployment assistance backup crosses socioeconomic levels.

Jeff Freiger

I have filed on sept 09 and yet to recieve any benefits, i get through to them after waiting on hold for an hour, just to hear them tell me that my case is under review, then they pretty much hang up on you without giving any answer at all. my savings is gone and im days from living in the street. Im so glad i paid taxes all my life, just to be crapped on from the govt. Cant wait to see what next they will waste millions of dollars on.


I have also been emailing and calling about unexplained disqualified and on hold claims, to no avail... same response after second email. sent to adjudication. This is ridiculous!! Does anybody really work there? I could use a job and I am competent and experienced, do they hire people like me?


I just claimed my 6th week on "HOLD" Something is not right. This is more than just a backup from the Connect debacle. I was told by one of the worthless customer service reps that I was able to speak with after days of trying to get through, that they have changed a lot of policies regarding what reason constitute an adjudication and the policy of holding only one week vs holding every week until adjudicated.


I have been laid off on 10/13 and i at first could not apply for benefits due to the changing over to the bulls**t system i have claimed 4 weeks now its week 5 and next week is week 6 and still no adjudicator has touched my claim all the can tell me at the call centee is that it is in process but i have bills to pay family to feed and telling me to wait and be patient is not going to get me anywhere but on the streets i would gladly work for unemployment i have the experience the skill set and I pay my taxes just to be screwed over.

Jutayo N

I have filed my claim since 09/21/2013 and still haven't received funds. Adjudication made a decision in my favor on 10/22/13 still haven't received the 6 weeks that I had to continue claiming due to this HORRIBLE system. The people are that you speak to are no better all they do is read what is in the system which is incorrect information. It took 2 months to get a flag removed off my account that was on 11/13/13 still no money. I am looking into getting an attorney so that I can sue these MORONS - if someone can sue for spilling hot coffee on themselves and win then I am sure we can sue these IDIOTS.

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