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Florida hits grim milestone: over 1 million workers have filed unemployment claims

May 4, 2020

Miami, Fla. —The latest reporting from the Miami Herald shows Florida’s unemployment situation is getting worse. Unique claims equal roughly 10 percent of Florida’s workforce population and Florida’s system is still so restrictive that it is rejecting some applicants who may be eligible for federal aid.

On May 3, the Miami Herald reported Florida had received over one million unique unemployment claims. As of March, Florida’s workforce population was 10,335,000. The Herald also reported that 38 percent of processed claims have been denied. The paper stated that state officials pointed out that those who have been denied may still be eligible for the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, stated it is time for the state to expand eligibility to follow the federal government’s pandemic response:

“Florida’s unemployment system has been shutting out too many Floridians for far too long. Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature should expand eligibility for unemployment to match the federal assistance program. It is the right thing to do to help those in need. It is also smart business because if too many Floridians can’t pay their bills, the ripple effects will devastate Florida’s economy. Governor DeSantis, please act now before it’s too late.”

Florida has now reported over 1 million unemployed workers, a bleak milestone as the state continues to lag on processing a massive caseload.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state has received 1,025,657 unique unemployment claims as of May 3, and has so far paid 452,526.


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.

Others have protested the system and have demanded immediate changes.

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. [Miami Herald, 4/3]



For Immediate Release

Contact: Alex Morash

(774) 208 8291

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