Florida officials dodge questions about unemployment website

Christy Dimond

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Florida officials dodge questions about unemployment website

CREATED Nov. 18, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's been a month and a half since the launch of Florida's new unemployment website, CONNECT, and technical glitches continue to prevent users from filing for claims.  In an interview Friday, Governor Rick Scott wouldn't address the website's issues and instead focused on how many people have been able to claim their benefits. 

 
"Hundreds of thousands of claims have worked, so they're headed in the right direction," Governor Scott said. 
 
For people like Rick Luebke, who hasn't received his checks since the new system launched, the Governor's message is frustrating.  
 
"The thousands that are able to get going in the right direction are not going to discount the fact that there's others out there right now who are struggling severely because of the new system," Luebke said. 
 
Without his $275 weekly unemployment check, Luebke has had to rely on friends and family to borrow money to put gas in his car to get to job interviews. 
 
"It's been very detrimental. I'm falling behind on all my bills, my savings account has been wiped out," Luebke said. 
 
Fox 4 reached back out to the Governor's office today to find out if he acknowledges that people are still having issues with the site.  His office, again, doged the question, sending the following statement: 
 
“DEO has worked hard to update the state’s 30-year-old system so they can better serve Floridians receiving reemployment assistance. They continue to make improvements to the system as problems are identified. More than 500,000 claims have been successfully filed since the launch of the new system.” – Melissa Sellers, Governor Scott’s Communications Director
 
Two and a half weeks ago, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson called for a federal investigation into the website and whether Florida officials are doing enough to fix the issues.  Today, a staff member from his office said they will know by the end of this week whether the U.S. Department of Labor will launch an investigation.  

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