As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Florida’s Safer at Home Order, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state has received 1,025,657 unique unemployment claims and has so far paid 452,526. The Miami Herald Article going into further detail.
With a population of 21.5 million people, Florida’s deficient unemployment system has been slow to catch up to the growing number of workers who have been laid off or furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic emergency.
The promise of financial relief to Florida’s jobless workers has been so delayed that lawyers have filed at least one class-action lawsuit asking a Tallahassee judge to order the state to immediately pay the unemployment benefits. They’re asking in part to have the suit extended to hundreds of thousands who have waited over a month for their checks.
Still, of the nearly 1.8 million unemployment claims submitted, 38% have been denied, or about 268,000 workers. FDEO said that workers who have been denied financial aid are likely eligible for benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Those denied include gig workers, independent contractors and self-employed workers.
On Monday, restaurants, stores and state parks are set to open in most of the state for the first time in weeks as part of Florida’s reopening. The concentration of COVID-19 hot spots in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties has largely excluded South Florida from the reopening measures.
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