Unemployment system experiencing crashes despite more Floridians back to work

Confusion has followed after changes to the website last week. The Department of Economic Opportunity now requires people to report their job searches.

The agency has also eliminated its online chat features. 

Orlando State Representative Anna Eskamani, who often helps facilitate communication between constituents and the DEO, says her office has received dozens of calls about the system daily. 

"The site has been crashing, it’s difficult for folks to log in, there is no support when you call and DEO disabled the online chat feature which is removing another level of customer service," she said.

The DEO says service has experienced a slowdown.

In a statement, officials said:

"The CONNECT system is experiencing higher than average wait times when users try to enter the system. Users may be placed in the CONNECT Virtual Waiting Room while other users access the system during times of heavy traffic."

For some, navigating the system is stressful and the unemployment crisis has been life-changing. 

"It’s caused me and my family to be homeless. Right now, we’re at a homeless shelter and I can’t get a job because I can’t leave my daughter here alone," said Tammy Martin. "The more I try to reach out to people, it’s like the more I feel like I have no voice. I feel like nobody listens or even cares."

Last month, DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said the agency is hiring hundreds of employees. 

Eskamani says, additionally, the Florida House has passed funding to improve the website, but it will take time.