Unemployment system woes continue

Some want feds involved

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In its 16th day, the new CONNECT unemployment system is still creating problems for out-of-work Floridians who need unemployment benefits to survive. The state says they are working on fixing issues, while one U.S politician says he's working on getting the feds involved.

"We know that some people out there are still experiencing issues and we are working day and night to make sure those issues are solved for those claimants," said Monica Russell, of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The new system -- the first of its kind in Florida -- was unveiled October 15. Since then a number of glitches have bogged down the system. Sen. Bill Nelson said he is working to get the federal government involved in finding out what went wrong and getting it fixed.

"The main purpose behind this federal-state program is to help stabilize the economy during recessions," said Nelson. "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 Department of Economic Opportunity responded with talking points.

"As our executive director said yesterday, we welcome any input Senator Nelson or the federal government has on our website as we identify and address problems as they arise," Russell said.

Published reports say the company behind the new system Deloitte has had similar problems in at least two other states. The company spent between $20,000 and $40,000 on seven lobbyists so far this year.

So, why would a contract be secured with a company that has this kind of history?

"We secured the contract through a competitive bid process. "We've been assured the issues that happened in these other states were not prevalent in Florida," Russell said.

The last unemployment system was around for more than three decades.

The state says they expect any remaining issues to be fixed by Sunday.

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