Federal officials head to Florida to "fix" troubled unemployment website

CREATED Jan. 15, 2014

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FLORIDA -- Federal officials are heading to Florida to help "fix" the state's troubled, new unemployment website, according to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) who asked for a federal investigation.  

The website, which launched in mid-October, has denied or delayed thousands more than $20 million in unemployment benefits, according to a study by the National Employment Law Project. 

Many Fox 4 viewers have reached out for help because they haven't received an unemployment check in three months. 

Nelson said he spoke with U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, whose priorities are getting claimants paid first, and fixing the website later.  

"The Secretary of Labor has assured me that his top people that handle unemployment insurance will be in Tallahassee in the next couple days and that they will stay there until the problems are fixed," Nelson said. 

The office of Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) released a statement-- firing at Nelson on an unrelated topic about flood insurance-- in response to feds coming to Florida to help with the website.  

"Senator Nelson wants the Obama administration to help fix a website, but he does not want them to fix the NFIP rate hike. That's just odd. Even for Washington." – Melissa Sellers, Communications Director for Governor Scott.

Nelson's office, in response, called the statement "completely misinformed." 

"Anybody who has been following the issue knows that Sen. Nelson is one of the key lawmakers behind the push to delay the flood insurance rate hikes so FEMA can look for ways to make them more affordable," said Nelson's press secretary Ryan Brown. 

Politics aside, it is unknown when the issue will get resolved and when claimants will get paid.  Count on Fox 4 to stay on it until that happens.