A U.S. senator is urging federal administrators to investigate errors within the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that may have led to violation of employee rights throughout the state. The department is accused of launching a faulty Web site that has prevented workers from obtaining the unemployment compensation they so desperately need during these down economic times. The site, which has been active since mid-October, has reportedly been riddled with technical errors, limiting Floridians’ access to unemployment benefits and other workers’ assistance programs.
The senator is seeking help through the U.S. Department of Labor because the state-administered Web site falls under federal jurisdiction.
In addition, the Florida senator says that the failure to distribute appropriate economic benefits could have an impact on the state’s resiliency during the recent financial downturn. Even though the Florida department says it has processed nearly a quarter-million claims since its Oct. 15 launch, hundreds of local residents say they are still unable to access the benefits they need. These citizens have complained not only to the news media, but also through social media networks such as Facebook. Most of them have experienced difficulty and delays with resetting their Personal Identification Number and accessing Reemployment Assistance.
The massive system overhaul involved a conversion of nearly two billion labor records. The existing management system was inexcusably outdated, having been used since the 1980s. Officials with the agency say they are working to provide additional technical support and repair for users who are suffering because of the failure to pay benefits. The federal government may be forced to intervene if conditions do not improve.
Floridians who have been laid off from their jobs should not have to be severely inconvenienced when attempting to claim their unemployment compensation. These workers, many of whom have faithfully paid taxes and other fees, deserve to be compensated for their financial woes in a timely manner without excuses from state and federal agencies.
tbo.com, “Sen. Nelson pushes for fix of jobless claims website” Ted Jackovics, Oct. 31, 2013