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Corona Economics

More than 1.1 million Florida unemployment claims now processed

Florida’s rejection rate now is just over 30% of processed claims.

State authorities now have processed more than 1.1 million unemployment claims and have sent checks to nearly 700,000 people who have lost their jobs since mid-March.

Through Tuesday, Florida had clawed through more than half of the nearly 2 million unemployment compensation claims submitted by workers contending they lost their jobs because of the coronavirus economic crisis.

Florida has paid some form of unemployment compensation to nearly half of the claimants confirmed, according to the most recent unemployment claims reports posted by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The latest report, covering efforts through Tuesday and posted Wednesday, shows Florida still is rejecting just over 30% of all processed claims.

Almost two out of every three Floridians whose claims have been processed have gotten approved for some sort of relief, and the vast majority of them have gotten checks, some getting state reemployment assistance, some federal pandemic unemployment compensation, and some federal pandemic unemployment assistance.

Through Tuesday, 1.9 million applications had been received; 1.4 million had been sorted as unique (not duplicate) claims; 1.16 million were processed; 708,000 were deemed as eligible; and 694,000 Floridians had been paid.

About 333,000 Floridians who applied for unemployment compensation have been denied.

Overall, Florida has paid $618 million from the state fund and $1.15 billion from the federal funds, for a total of $1.77 billion in payments sent to Florida’s unemployed workers.

This comes as the state makes noticeable progress in trying to catch up on the enormous backlog of claims that had built up since March 15 as Florida’s CONNECT unemployment compensation application system collapsed from being overwhelmed and inadequate.

The efforts, led by Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, drew some praise Wednesday from critics of the state’s urgency to help unemployed workers get relief, including Democratic Sens. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee and Linda Stewart of Orlando.

Bracy and Stewart received a review Wednesday of the state’s expanded unemployment claims operations in Tallahassee. They said the handling of jobless claims has improved but still needs work.

Also, they said the state needs to replace the $77.9 million CONNECT system, which went live in 2013 and is now the subject of an internal investigation at the direction of DeSantis.

“The secretary said DEO just doesn’t have the money to put up a new system, but it’s necessary because it’s an antiquated system,” Bracy said. “I just think the current administration has to prepare better for moments like this, so that we don’t have months where constituents have to wait for their unemployment compensation while they’re actively looking for work.”

Since the end of April, authorities have been able to process more than 400,000 claims and get payments out to more than 260,000 additional unemployed workers. The total amount paid has nearly tripled, from about $600 million that had been paid through April 30.

Florida also has decreased its rejection rate, which was as high as 40% in late April.

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Written By

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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

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