unemployment

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

One out of every three applications for unemployment in Florida has been deemed ineligible to get relief. Are the people applying for the support to blame, or is the trouble with the state’s unemployment system?

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Jeenah Moon / Reuters

Like the rest of the United States, unemployment in South Florida continues to climb. Experts are still working to get a more complete picture of how the COVID-19 virus has impacted the economy here, as well as across the country.

As businesses reopen, many Americans being called back to work say they don't feel safe — especially those who work in restaurants, hair salons or other high-contact jobs.

"With people eating food, not having masks on, with servers having to touch their plates and their silverware, there's just absolutely no way to keep the servers safe," says Lindsey, a waitress in Iowa.

She has been out of work for two months. But this week, the pub-style restaurant she works at is reopening.

DeSantis Blames Paperwork Problems In Unresolved Claims

May 18, 2020
David Santiago / MIAMI HERALD

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications.

DeSantis said forms often lack Social Security numbers or information about wages earned when the applicants were employed or they improperly list reasons for people being out of work.

The worst of the nation's historic job losses are yet to come, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who told Fox News Sunday that "the reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better."

Updated at 9:00 a.m. ET

Michelle Sweeney could barely sleep. The nurse in Plymouth, Mass., had just learned she would be furloughed. She only had four hours the next day to call all of her patients.

"I was in a panic state. I was sick over it," Sweeney said. "Our patients are the frailest, sickest group."

Sweeney works for Atrius Health as a case manager for patients with chronic health conditions and those who have been discharged from the hospital or emergency room.

MATIAS J. OCNER / MIAMI HERALD

On this Monday, April 27, episode of Sundial:

When Should Florida Reopen? 

Florida is experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. 

Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald

Florida Democrats want federal auditors to investigate the state’s flawed unemployment system and a backlog they say ranks among the worst in the country.

AP

More than a month ago, as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread across South Florida, Jalani Jacobs lost his job as a line chef.

Updated at 8:46 a.m. ET

The number of people forced out of work during the coronavirus lockdown continues to soar to historic highs. Another 4.4 million people claimed unemployment benefits last week around the country, the Labor Department said.

That brings the total of jobless claims in just five weeks to more than 26 million people. That's more than all the jobs added in the past 10 years since the Great Recession.

When the British economy ground to a halt a few weeks ago, Reda Maher suddenly found himself among the ranks of the unemployed, alongside untold millions of other people around the world.

But unlike many others, Maher can rest easy, knowing that money will keep flowing into his bank account until he's called back to work.

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

Governor Ron DeSantis and his newly-formed task force are working on reopening the state during the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. DeSantis said some municipalities should feel free to start opening parks and beaches, with physical distancing guidelines. It comes as his administration faces increased scrutiny for its response to the coronavirus.

Crashing servers, outmoded software and overloaded call centers are some of the obstacles standing between millions of unemployed workers and the financial lifeline the government has promised under the $2 trillion relief package approved late last month.

With every passing week the problem is exacerbated by new waves of jobless or laid-off workers whose paychecks have vanished since the coronavirus pandemic crippled the U.S. economy.

About 17 million people have applied for unemployment benefits in the U.S. in recent weeks. It's an astonishing number that's nearly 10 times what the system has ever handled so quickly.

Capt. Bouncer Smith

On a balmy evening this past February, before the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in South Florida, Capt. Bouncer Smith motored his 33-foot open fisherman into Government Cut. The Miami skyline glowed like a string of lanterns. On board, a group of return customers in town for the annual boat show were stalking tarpon.

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