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Florida officials call for antiquated unemployment processing system to be replaced
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida officials are recommending that the state's antiquated unemployment processing system be replaced after a review confirmed what had long been known: a broken system full of glitches that was incapable of handling the unprecedented deluge of jobless claims spawned by the coronavirus outbreak.
The state's Department of Economic Opportunity is recommending that the current system, known as CONNECT, be discarded and replaced with a more robust and modern system that employs cloud-based technology that could allow the system to more nimbly respond to increased demands.
The department, which oversees the state's unemployment system, is asking lawmakers for $73 million over the next two years to modernize the system that left hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians without unemployment checks for weeks and sometimes months.
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The director of the agency, Dane Eagle, told lawmakers Monday that Florida was not alone in its struggles.
“We are far behind in where we need to be,” he said. “Florida is not the only state to experience these challenges."
But as the unemployment rate surged when businesses closed, Florida was among the slowest states — if not the slowest — in getting unemployment checks to those with no other income to pay mortgages, rents and other necessities.