State Watch

Florida tells 260K people denied coronavirus unemployment benefits due to mix-up to reapply

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Most Floridians who were denied unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic due to a glitch in the application process are being encouraged to reapply to receive the funds.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) told the Tampa Bay Times that almost 268,000 Floridians were deemed ineligible for benefits since March 15, amounting to nearly 40 percent of the claims processed by the state thus far. 

However, most of those people were flagged as ineligible for state benefits, which can reach $275 per week, but are still eligible for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, which are $600 per week and could be awarded to a wider swath of people.

The mix-up occurred because Florida’s electronic unemployment system was until Tuesday unable to process claims for people who already were ineligible for state benefits, meaning that many people who could otherwise obtain federal benefits could not submit claims through the website. 

The Florida DEO is encouraging any person who applied for unemployment benefits before April 4 to reapply regardless of whether they’ve received any communication from the department. Any applications filed on or after April 5 will be processed correctly.

While the agency is informing those who were incorrectly deemed ineligible, the department said it is faster to simply reapply. People will not be penalized for reapplying.

The state tried to clear up any confusion by publishing a chart outlining the application process on its Twitter page. 

The Florida DEO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The state has processed 664,158 of the state’s 1,941,807 claims.


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