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While Unemployment Claims Soar, DeSantis Still Hasn’t Fixed Florida’s Unemployment System

Today the Department of Labor (DOL) reported 181,293 new unemployment claims in Florida during the week ended April 11. This is a 11,408 increase from the previous week. While more jobless Floridians seek assistance, Florida’s unemployment system is still struggling to process unemployment claims.

This report comes a day after Governor DeSantis admitted that he did not know how many outstanding claims there are in Florida — and that the system is so broken, he can’t readily find out. Most other states can at least determine how many claims have been processed. Yesterday, Governor DeSantis also sidelined Ken Lawson, the director of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, previously overseeing the unemployment system.

Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, called out DeSantis’ mismanaged handling of the unemployment system:

“People can’t wait weeks, much less months, for relief after losing their jobs. They needed that assistance weeks ago and the Governor must do better. Instead of taking responsibility, DeSantis seems to be taking another page from Donald Trump’s playbook and is passing the buck of this failure to his administrators.”

Meanwhile, Trump is insisting that his name be printed on every stimulus check from the federal government — an unprecedented move that could delay assistance to Americans in need. See FDP’s statement on this here.

Florida’s maximum unemployment benefit is only $275 — one of the lowest maximum benefit amounts in the nation. On April 6, DeSantis announced more servers would be used to process applications, yet Florida’s unemployment insurance website has had known errors not related to volume: State auditors have documented problems with Florida’s unemployment website’s since 2015. In 2019, auditors reported to the DeSantis administration 600 known issues.

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