State looks to hire hundreds to help alleviate unemployment website backlog



ORLANDO, Fla. - The state is scrambling to fix major problems with its unemployment website, and Channel 9 has learned they're hiring more employees to deal with the backlog.

Problems have plagued the site since the new system launched in October, and Sen. Bill Nelson called for an investigation into the delay in benefits later that month.

Last month, the state fined the company that built the troubled website $15,000 a day.

The state is now hoping to find additional workers to help speed up the claims process and get benefits flowing again.

Theresa Strittmatter is looking for a job but has heard the same thing over and over again.

"If you walk in, they'll say, 'I can give you an application but we aren't hiring,'" she said.

So Strittmatter used the state's website, Connect, to file for unemployment benefits, but there have been glitches with the site ever since it launched.

The state will now hire at least 330 additional staff members to handle with the overload of phone calls and to assist people waiting for payments.

The Department of Economic Opportunity told Channel 9 they're fining Deloitte, the website maker, thousands each day until problems are fixed.

The state said last month they have already withheld a $3 million payment to the company.