Governor Ron DeSantis announced some actions the state is taking to improve Florida’s reemployment assistance program during a COVID-19 response roundtable at the Florida State Capitol.
“A lot of people are hurting right now through no fault of their own,” said DeSantis. “A flawed and bureaucratic reemployment system should be the last thing that prevents them from getting assistance.”
DeSantis went on to say that last week he directed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to take whatever action is necessary to fix the system, and since then they have made significant progress.
DeSantis recently signed an executive order directing DEO and other executive agencies to take necessary actions to improve DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Program.
In response, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has installed 72 new servers. The system can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connections by individuals filing claims, allowing for far greater capacity than the 20,000 connections the system was having difficulty with.
The DEO published a paper application over the weekend that people can complete and mail in. Before creating the paper application, people could only fill out an application over the phone or online.
The DEO hired a call center, streamlined the training process, and trained more than 200 people so that they can start answering calls today. The DEO will continue to train more than 700 more people during the week so that by next week over 1,000 individuals will be answering calls for Reemployment Assistance.
The Department of Management Services (DMS) Secretary Jonathan Satter coordinated the Governor’s call-to-action for state employees to assist the DEO with calls, data entry, and citizen services. More than 2,300 state employees have volunteered to help.
The DEO will determine the number and extent to which employees will be utilized. The DMS is coordinating technology support and telecommunications capacity to handle the surge in calls and applications for reemployment assistance. The DMS is working with the DEO to establish virtual desktop support and workflow processes to serve and estimated one million Florida residents impacted by COVID-19.