Updates With Florida DEO Director from Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (4/18/2020, 4:30pm)

This is an email from Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez to Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and others that describes a conversation he had with Secretary John Satter who nows overseas Florida DEO. You are free to share this information to anyone who needs it. Follow Senator Rodriguez at this link.

See Anna’s DEO update from 4/16/2020 here.

TWO NEW LINKS FROM DEO — -

  1. DEO’s 2nd new website to check the status of your CONNECT account without logging into CONNECT: https://visualivr.connect.myflorida.com/fish-messaging/go/Q5uZriw-
  2. DEO’s NEW Resource Guide: http://floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/new-individual-faq-includes-cares-act-final.pdf?sfvrsn=5f2547b0_14

Colleagues,

I spoke with Sec. Satter just now. He was responding to my letter from 4/16 (attached) regarding reemployment assistance (RA); and my numbering below matches it. I’m sharing the conversation so you have the same information I have.

We talked about a few things not in the letter. One important one is that with respect to constituent inquiries/advocacy we should expect to hear from Sec. Satter’s Deputy Chief of Staff at DMS early this week for an improved process to make sure our constituents’ issues are handled (as up until now my view is that DEO was just ‘sitting on’ constituent inquiries and not moving them).

  1. Retroactivity is “a go,” he said, and we should expect to see a rule this week on it. Sec. Satter tells me they have not yet chosen an effective date for that retroactivity. Importantly (and disappointingly), the retroactivity they are willing to do is not retroactivity to the date of job loss. Instead it is a retroactivity on the date of application, intended to hold applicants harmless to when they tried to apply but could not because of system inoperability (allowing people to self-report the date they first tried to apply is, to me, the only workable way to do this and he did not disagree).

UPDATE: Important and positive clarification. Sec. Satter says that they have not yet decided if retroactivity will be to date of jobs loss or date the applicant tried to apply (I stated it was only date of application). He stated their goal is to maximize the federal and state benefit.

2. I asked about the “only to the extent necessary” limitation in the recent order waiving bi-weekly reporting requirements. Sec. Satter confirmed that the rule is in fact waived for everyone. He said that the waiver will be in place until further action from the Governor or would at most be commensurate with however long order 20–52 (the emergency declaration) is in place.

3. They do not yet know when they’ll have an application for PUA ready (self-employed applicants or independent contractors/gig workers). We cannot pay out this federal assistance until people can apply for it; and if date of completion is when benefits start, then every week there is no application is a week of benefits lost; so I asked what to tell these constituents (self-employed applicants or independent contractors/gig workers), to apply under the current application and fail or wait? Sec. Satter said to wait a few days for guidance, that there should be an answer to that this week.

He did say that once the application is available self-employed applicants or independent contractors/gig workers will be quickly routed to the PUA application and not be required to apply for traditional RA first and fail before being routed to the PUA application.

4. Sec. Satter does indeed expect the waiver of the work search requirements to be extended past 5/2 but said that is the Governor’s decision.

5. The only ‘tip’ he could relay to applicants to speed up applications is (understandably) to use the online application system wherever possible instead of the paper application system.

6. Regarding why the Governor appears to believe he/DEO has authority to waive some parts of chapter 443 during an emergency but not others (importantly to increase benefit weeks and amounts as I and others have asked), Sec. Satter said that is a ‘policy decision’ and a decision that the Governor’s office will make. He said he would relay this question to the Governor’s General Counsel for an answer.

7. Asked when our constituents can expect a fully functioning application and payment system, we mostly talked about their efforts to staff calls and improve capacity and their efforts to work with the federal Dept. of Labor to streamline components of the verification process.

Importantly, though, he did say they are moving forward with an online PIN reset feature (instead of via phone). He told me they’ve made their way through most PIN resets tempered by the fact that a lot of calls still are not making it through because of capacity; and that waiving the re-certification requirement removes the need for a PIN once someone starts receiving benefits; this should significantly reduce call volume.

​Sincerely,

José Javier Rodríguez, Senator, District 37

Orlandoan, daughter of working class immigrants and UCF grad elected to serve FL HD47. Working for you, fighting for us. #OnwardWithAnna