Denials soar as Florida rejects thousands of unemployment claims

VIDEO: Thousands of unemployment claims denied in Florida during pandemic

On Friday, one in four unemployed Florida workers got their claim denied by the state, and as of Sunday night, that number was two in five.

“When I went on this morning, it said that I was not eligible,” said Central Florida resident John Gauci.

On Friday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity took its CONNECT website offline to process claims. That downtime resulted in DEO increasing its processing rate from 30% to 79.1%, it also resulted in denials increasing from 27.6% to 40.3%.

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“It took me a little while to get in and then it said I was not eligible, that my base period wages were not met,” said South Florida resident Matt Molchany.

As of Sunday night, 263,164 Floridians had their claims ruled “ineligible” by DEO.

In an email DEO wrote, “If you are not eligible, the written determination will explain the reason we denied your claim and will explain your appeal rights. If you disagree with a determination that denies benefits, you may request an appeal hearing. You have the option to request an appeal with our team within 20 calendar days after the distributed date of the determination. Visit http://FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19 to download a Notice of Appeals Form.”

“I printed out the form to file an appeal, but the problem right now is when you log on to the website it says to view your determination, my determination says ‘not available’ and in order to file an appeal you need the number of the incident or issue from the determination,” said unemployed worker Laura Colt.

WATCH: The long, expensive history of Florida's failing unemployment system