Congressman says 'problematic' unemployment website could lead to federal action

Pressure is mounting for Florida to fix its unemployment insurance program as hundreds of thousands of claims come in.

“Should we see days from now it continues to be this problematic we may consider doing more aggressive action at the federal level,” said U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, (D-Florida).

Soto is closely monitoring the state’s progress.  

“Last week we did get them $29 million in additional money from the federal government to get their act together,” Rep. Soto explained. 

The Department of Economic Opportunity added more than 70 servers, hired hundreds of people and launched a mobile friendly app.

But some say it’s still not working.

“Last night I was trying to do it for almost three hours and I couldn’t post anything,” said Carmen Arroyo, an organizer with the union Unite Here.

She’s been battling the website since mid-march helping other people apply for benefits.

When asked if she’s noticed any improvements over the last several weeks, Arroyo said, “Nothing. There’s been nothing.”

Floridians are missing out on money that should have started coming in weeks ago.


Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to commit to back pay, which would allow benefits to begin when people lost their jobs not when they filed a claim.

“People did the right thing. They applied and the website was the problem. Not them,” Rep. Soto explained.

Livelihoods are on the line as the state scramble to keep up.

“We haven’t yet had to take over a state unemployment website yet since the coronavirus has started but Florida is making national news for the dysfunction of this website,” Rep. Soto said.

We sent several questions to the Department of Economic Opportunity Thursday, including whether retroactive pay will be applied, and didn’t receive answers by air time.