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Gov. Ron DeSantis calls Florida's unemployment claims system a 'jalopy'

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 17:21:28-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Admitting that Florida's system to process unemployment claims for hundreds of thousands of jobless residents is a "jalopy," Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is nonetheless making "a lot of great progress" in getting people paid.

Speaking in Tallahassee on Tuesday, the governor said Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity paid close to 150,000 claims in the last 24 hours.

"There's been a lot of great work done on this system," DeSantis said. "Look, this system, the fact that the state paid $77 million for this thing. I mean, it's a jalopy."

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According to the state, Florida has paid out only about 6.2 percent of the 1.5 million unemployment claims submitted since March 15.

DeSantis said the DEO has added staff and upgraded computer servers to process claims faster.

"You had people working really nonstop. But this whole weekend they're doing stuff on this system, and we're definitely in a better spot than we were," DeSantis said.

Last week, the governor said he suspended a requirement which forced jobless Floridians to recertify every two weeks that they are still unemployed.

The recertification process put Florida's mobile-friendly Pega website under too much pressure, DeSantis said.

"From what the technicians told me, that will relieve some stress on the system," DeSantis said in Tallahassee on April 16. "This will hopefully free up some space to move some more claims through."