Many states are scrambling to process an avalanche of jobless claims, struggling with overloaded websites and unanswered phones. But Florida has emerged as one of the slowest in the nation.
Hundreds of thousands of workers — many from Florida’s once-booming service industry — have been waiting for weeks for a check. It has taken some as long as that to file. As the website became unusable under the weight of the traffic, the state agreed this month to accept paper applications, a tacit acknowledgment that the system was all but broken. Florida’s breakdown became a national symbol of distress, when footage of a snaking line for those applications outside the public library in Hialeah, a blue-collar city outside Miami, went viral.
The debacle has become an embarrassment for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who has had to repeatedly address the shortcomings. He called the system “cumbersome” last week and acknowledged that only 34,000 of 850,000 pending claims had been paid, a number that rose over the past week to 117,000.