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Corona Economics

Unemployed: State now has paid nearly 1 million people

Rejection rate for state or federal aid now running about 24% in Florida.

Florida now has sent some form of unemployment aid to nearly 1 million Floridians as officials have now processed more than 1.5 million claims, an increase of nearly 40% in a week.

In the most recent reports released Thursday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state showed 2.1 million applications were received, 1.7 million were confirmed as unique claims, from 1.5 million unique claimants. Those numbers tally the department’s unemployment claims processing efforts through Wednesday,

Florida has now sent some form of unemployment compensation, either from state funds or one of two federal aid programs Florida administers for Floridians, to 985,967 people, according to the latest report.

Florida has processed 1,507,467 claims. That has resulted in 914,326 Floridians being found eligible for state re-employment assistance. Many of them have received aid from both the state program and the federal pandemic unemployment compensation plan included in the federal CARES Act. Another 112,240 people, mostly independent contractors and “gig” workers, were deemed eligible for the separate federal pandemic unemployment assistance.

Another 368,661 Floridians’ aid applications are in the reject pile, as state officials have deemed them ineligible for either the state or federal assistance. They represent about 24% of all the claims the state has processed so far.

Since the crisis began in mid-March, Florida has sent out unemployment compensation checks totaling $2.7 billion, with two-thirds of that being federal money and one third coming from the state’s tax coffers.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 223,000 Floridians filed first-time claims for unemployment in the week that ended last Saturday, about the same number as filed new claims the previous week.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was hoping to see the economy doing better in the near future, and jobs returning.

“I wish that could happen overnight. And maybe it will, but I gotta, you know, assume that this is going to be a process,” he said.

“So, in the meantime, (we need to) get that payment out as quickly as possible. And I can report that there are people that have already been paid, who applied within the last 10 days, whose applications were submitted, fully done. They’re verified, and then the payment has gone out. So, the process that they’re using, has gotten a lot better. And it’s taken a lot of work.”

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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