ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9's Lori Brown confronted Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday in an effort to find out what he is doing to fix the state's trouble website for unemployment benefits
In the nine weeks since that website launched people have told Channel 9 that they haven't been able to file a claim or get help over the phone.
Channel 9 also uncovered a glitch that wasted money by sending dozens of identical letters to 3,000 people.
The governor has yet to come out and address all of the problems keeping thousands from receiving their benefits. When Brown asked him about it Thursday, Scott cut her off after just two questions.
Joseph Ponce, an Afghanistan veteran and father of three young children, is one of thousands in Florida who have waited more than two months for unemployment benefits.
"You feel helpless, and hopeless," said Ponce.
Ponce, who was laid off from his last job, said he doesn't have the money for his power bill and car insurance. He said putting any gifts under the Christmas tree this year is out of the question.
"I don't have a dollar to myself," said Ponce.
The state's unemployment website is plagued with problems and it is next to impossible to reach a person by calling the state's hotline. Ponce said when he has been able reach someone on the phone, it is equally frustrating.
"I had a representative tell me, 'Well sir, what you need to do is play the waiting game,'" said Ponce. "My responsibilities don't play games."
Channel 9 has asked Scott about the website on four occasions. He has yet to offer an explanation.
"The state's unemployment website has been a disaster, what are you doing to make sure this gets solved?" Brown asked Scott.
"First off, the most important thing we can do is help people get jobs," said Scott.
"What do you want to say to the people who can't pay their bills right now because of this?" Brown asked.
"Again, my biggest job is to make sure people can get a job. We have 279,000 job openings in the state. We're recouping money, holding money back from Deloitte to make sure it gets better quickly," said Scott.
Deloitte is the company the state paid $63 million for the
"Isn't it your job to make sure this website is working?" Brown asked Scott.
"Excuse me, bye, thank you," Scott said, and then left.
Ponce said after he was able to contact the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, he was assured his check is on the way.
State officials said Deloitte has until Friday to fix all of the problems.
The company is also paying $1.5 million in restitution to the state.