Gov. DeSantis confesses that the state’s unemployment claiming system was deliberately engineered to dishearten people in a CBS exclusive interview.
What We Know:
- Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis was interviewed by CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede, where the governor revealed that the unemployment website is designed to discourage claimants from filing for their benefits.
- “I think that was the animating philosophy. I mean having studied how it was internally constructed, I think the goal was for whoever designed, it was, ‘Let’s put as many kinds of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, oh, the hell with it, I’m not going to do that,'” DeSantis said. “It was definitely done in a way to lead to the least number of claims being paid out.”
- From the onset, the website has been plagued with problems. For weeks, people were not able to sign in to the website to create a basic username and password to claim the benefit. The signup process was virtually impossible on-line or on the phone, forcing local offices to hand out paper applications. Hundreds of people stood in lines that wrapped around the block for hours to finally submit their claim.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), known as CONNECT, was released in October 2013. Most unemployment sites in the US are 40-50 years old, making it one of the newest. The state spent $77 million on its creation under former governor Rick Scott’s administration, now a US senator.
- DeSantis said he waived many verification requirements through an executive order for claimants to receive their benefits faster. The website that processes benefits was audited in 2019, and the findings were left for DeSantis to review. He’s requested an investigation into how the system was engineered, under Scott’s administration.
On Wednesday, the state’s Senate Democratic Caucus said about 1.45 million Floridians still continue to wait for payments.
The complete interview is below.
Exclusive: Gov. Ron DeSantis Acknowledges State’s Unemployment System Was Built With ‘Pointless Roadblocks’ To Pay Out ‘Least Number Of Claims’ https://t.co/EqvxYwHcMh
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) August 4, 2020