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Florida Slowest State In U.S. To Process Unemployment Claims

Florida has processed its hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims more slowly than any other state.

Florida is already among the most inhospitable places to be unemployed, and the economic downturn from the coronavirus outbreak has only added to the misery.

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State data now streaming into the Department of Labor shows Florida at the absolute bottom among all 50 states and the District Columbia in the percentage of the unemployed it is serving, lagging behind states big and small.

Only 6 percent of Floridians who applied for unemployment benefits have received a paycheck.

Of the 652,191 confirmed claims, only 40,193 have resulted in any type of payment – nearly 7 of every 8 Floridians. So far, 25 percent of claims have been rejected by the state.

The Florida Department of Economic opportunity released a new online dashboard to track claim statistics. Florida’s unemployment system, which faced slowdowns and an increase in call volume, is now under the guidance of  Jonathan Satter from the Department of Management Services.

Through the new system, Satter pledges “complete transparency, efficiently streamlining the reemployment assistance process, waiving all red tape and ensuring hurting Florida families have the aid they need to get through COVID-19.

As businesses began shutting down or reducing hours in response to the pandemic, Florida workers struggled to sign up for the program.

All together, 1.5 million claims were submitted through three channels: Two online portals and a paper application process. DEO said some of these claims may be duplicated as frustrated Floridians searching for assistance tried some or all of the application tools.

Nearly $60 million have been distributed — $46 million from the state’s Reemployment Assistance fund (RA) and $14 million from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

WMFE staff writer Brendan Byrne contributed to this report.

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