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.