Vast majority of Florida unemployment claims being approved

There was a surge in approvals as the state received its 2 millionth unemployment application.

After receiving harsh criticism for days for rejecting two of every five claims for unemployment compensation, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity appeared to change direction on processing claims Tuesday, showing a surge of approvals.

In the latest figures released by the department, the number of people approved for unemployment compensation soared Tuesday, while the number of people who were rejected decreased overall.

State officials had insisted they have been processing claims by the book, yet were fending off a torrent of criticism after it was revealed that the state had been declaring more than 40% of reemployment assistance claimants to be ineligible, at least through Monday.

A one-day change in that pattern appeared Tuesday, even as the department logged its 2 millionth application received from Floridians who say they’ve lost their jobs during six weeks of the coronavirus crisis.

Tuesday’s numbers, reported Wednesday, show the total number of processed claimants deemed eligible since March 15 increased by 11,398, to 407,644, while the ranks of those deemed ineligible actually was reduced, by 1,551, to 266,361, according to the DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Claim Workflow dashboard.

The change may be small in number, given the hundreds of thousands of Floridians awaiting unemployment compensation. But the change in direction appears significant, potentially turning the tide on rejections. It means that since March 15, 60.5% of processed claims now have been approved, compared with a composite rate of 59.7 just a day earlier; 39.5% now have been disapproved, compared with 40.3% just a day earlier.

Through Tuesday, 404,317 Floridians have actually been sent unemployment compensation checks. That six-week total increased by more than 12,000 on Tuesday, over Monday’s total.

Overall, Florida’s unemployed now have received $223 million from the state’s Reemployment Assistance program, good for $275 per week; and another $330 million from the federal government’s Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, through the CARES Act, good for $600 a week. Combined, unemployed Floridians have been sent almost $554 million in relief money since the unofficial start of the coronavirus crisis March 15.

The fact that Florida now has 2,028,635 total unemployment applications in hand, received since March 15, does not necessarily mean there have been 2 million Floridians looking for work. The DEO has been sorting its stack of unprocessed claims, looking for duplicate applications, and so far officials have found thousands from Floridians who either tried to apply through multiple avenues, or who tried to apply multiple times because they hadn’t heard back.

State officials have struggled for weeks to get the problem-plagued unemployment compensation application system to work right, and most applicants have had trouble.

Florida has 835,290 applicants that officials have confirmed are unique claims. Of those, officials still have 161,285, about 19%, which still need to be processed to see if the claimants are eligible for money.

That leaves nearly 1.2 million applications that have yet to be confirmed as unique, processed for eligibility, and paid or rejected.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


7 comments

  • Mel

    April 29, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Why is ANYONE being rejected??

    • Anes11

      April 29, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      Everyone who legitimately lost their job needs help and should receive it. The system certainly wasn’t ready for hundreds of thousands of claims at once. The DEO should be doing everything possible to get a check out to those without income. BUT, to just blindly send out checks without verifying employment is ridiculous. Many people lie, cheat, and steal as a way of life. They will take from their dying grandmother if the opportunity presents itself. Florida should not pay out millions to these fraudsters. Remember the Katrina checks. Nothing has changed. I guess people need to learn a lesson that you can’t count on the government. Everyone should have a month or two of money set aside for times such as these.

      • Bartholomew

        April 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm

        So true Anes11 if only everyone had great benefits and pay they would be able to set aside something for times such as these.

  • frank Pagano

    April 29, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    all independant contractors and self employed people are ineligable according to about 10 people I have spoken to.
    Everybody has their business closed due to mandatory state closure of non essential businesses.
    why are we all being denied?

  • Kpr

    April 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    What about the 277,000 that were denied? There is no reason to be denied and I need my money as much as the other claims that were approved mysteriously this week! This is a joke!

  • Tony

    May 1, 2020 at 11:51 am

    60% approval is a “vast majority”?

    Vast majority is used when you want to emphasize that something is true about almost all of a group of people or things.

    51% is a majority. An additional 9% is not a “vast” difference.

    If 60% of people survived a bombing, would you call that a vast majority?

    if your salary was cut to 60% of your current salary, would you say you retain the vast majority of your salary?

  • Our Dance

    May 4, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    It took us 5-6 weeks to finally just submit the application to DEO. There (as mentioned already) are so many who NEED their checks, my husband found out he has stage 4 cancer and having a pet scan in the morning because their still anticipating to find more………we are one of those who REALLY need to see some light in the tunnel……..In the meantime I will continue to pray for everyone!! to get their relief with a quickness…….

Comments are closed.


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