Gov. Ron DeSantis Must Fix Florida’s Broken Unemployment System Now!
The latest weekly unemployment claims in Florida have jumped from 6,256 new claims to over 74,000 new claims. Yet, tragically these recently unemployed Floridians -- and the countless more to soon join them -- await Florida’s broken unemployment system where they will receive little assistance and prolonged difficulty in filing claims if they are not denied benefits outright.
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, called on Governor Ron DeSantis to fix Rick Scott’s mess:
“Floridians are losing the means to support themselves as the economy has come to a halt to stop the pandemic. When workers apply for unemployment benefits they are finding how little our state will assist them.”
Rizzo continued: “Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature must fix Rick Scott’s broken unemployment system. Florida only supplies 12 weeks of benefits and the maximum benefit is more than a hundred dollars below the national average. Democrats and Republicans have put together unemployment assistance at the federal level to assist the unemployed – we must do the same in Florida and we must act fast.”
While the national average weekly unemployment benefits are $385, Florida’s maximum benefit is only $275 per week. The Sunshine State will also only provide 12 weeks of benefits while most states provide 26 weeks. Many note that Florida does extend the number of weeks one can get on unemployment, the Sun-Sentinal noted last week that the number of weeks is calculated annually and it is unlikely the state will extend the maximum number of weeks a person can be on unemployment until October.
The system is so burdensome and restrictive, a 2015 report by the National Employment Law Project found that fewer than one in eight receive jobless benefits and that six in ten had been denied benefits without ever receiving any jobless benefits at all. Then-Governor Rick Scott signed the current benefit levels into law in 2011. In the U.S. Senate, a bipartisan deal has been reached to extend federal unemployment assistance. Senator Scott -- one of the richest members of Congress -- attempted to block the package to force the benefit amount to be reduced.