Tampa Bay, Florida -- The 10 News Investigators are continuing to stay on top of the problems our viewers are experiencing with the Florida unemployment claims website CONNECT.
We have been asking questions on behalf of our viewers, holding those in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Governor Rick Scott accountable.
The 10 News Investigators have uncovered information that showed the DEO knew about problems in the summer of 2012, but allowed the website design contractor, Deloitte, to continue with their contract after paying restitution.
DEO also announced that Deloitte is now paying another $15,000 each business day that the website is not functioning properly, until it is fixed.
Unfortunately, this does not help people who need the money now. This is why we are continuing to stay on top of any updates and bring you any new information.
On Friday, DEO spokesperson Jesse Panuccio said, "We need more work from Deloitte computer programmers to fix the remaining problems plaguing CONNECT and less talk from their lawyers about why they should not be penalized $15,000 a day for a system that's still not working properly."
In addition, Panuccio issued a statement listing problems with the website that Deloitte has not fixed and acknowledging the failure of the website is affecting thousands of Floridians.
Panuccio sayid, "Some claimants are not receiving their entitled benefits because of technical issues. Deloitte continues to fail to meet their contractual obligation to the State."
Panuccio also tells 10 News that they are increasing their staff in the next couple months. The following is a statement from Jesse Panuccio, the executive director at DEO:
"DEO is significantly increasing adjudication and call center staff to better handle the increased workload that has resulted from technical difficulties. DEO will add an additional 100 adjudicators this month, another 100 in February, and another 50 in March, doubling our adjudication unit.
"We have focused on this area because we know it will do the most to expedite payments to people who have been waiting the longest. In addition, we will also add another 80 agents over the next two months to our contact center staff to ensure we have the people available to be responsive to claimant calls. We are dedicated to making sure every claim is processed quickly, and we will continue to work until every claimant is served.
"We will continue to hold Deloitte accountable and I have asked them to devote whatever resources necessary to fix all remaining technical issues."
In addition, we have learned some tips throughout our investigation which may be helpful:
- Try calling in the hours of 7 am and 8 am first thing in the morning and be persistent, insisting on speaking with a supervisor.
- Download and use the Mozilla Firefox web browser, which seems to be more compatible with CONNECT.
- Do not stop filing if you are due the payments, even if you are not getting a response.
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