TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- President Barack Obama has some competition for the title of "Bungler-In-Chief" following the Obamacare website HealthCare.gov fiasco. That's because Florida's Unemployment Compensation website "CONNECT" continues to falter in the processing of unemployment compensation claims - a publicity headache that Florida Governor Rick Scott could do without going into next year's gubernatorial election.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio issued a statement that read:
“DEO will continue to work nonstop to help claimants and I will not rest until our contractor, Deloitte Consulting, has delivered the system Floridians were promised. We have recovered $1.5 million in financial restitution and imposed a corrective action plan on the vendor. Right now, getting claimants the help they need is the top priority for this agency.”
Per the recent contract amendment with Deloitte, all corrective action plans must be successfully executed by December 20, DEO stated.
Following harsh criticism on the DEO Facebook page, DEO said that it "has disabled the posting and comment ability on the agency’s Facebook page due to posts by individuals that included personal information such as social security numbers and phone numbers. In order to protect the safety and security of claimants and DEO employees, the ability to post and comment on the DEO Facebook page has been temporarily disabled. The public may send direct or private messages to DEO through the direct message option on Facebook and those messages will be routed to the appropriate DEO division for assistance."
In its defense, DEO said that since the launch on October 15, more than 833,000 total claims have been filed using CONNECT and more than $237 million has been paid to claimants. A total of 19,960 claims were filed using CONNECT and approximately $5.7 million was paid to claimants on Tuesday, December 10.
Additionally, call centers remain open extended hours and will remain as long as needed, DEO stated. Those hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST on Sundays. DEO added 150 staff to the RA call centers for a total of 395 call center agents to assist individuals with the transition to CONNECT.
On Tuesday, December 10, there were 24,920 unique phone numbers comprising 101,522 calls to the call center and there were 6,900 live customer interactions, according to DEO.