ORLANDO, Fla. - More than a third of unemployment claims processed by the state of Florida have been denied as of Monday.
According to the DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Dashboard, of 824,279 unique claims, 652,296 (79.1%) were processed. Of those processed claims, 59.7% were eligible for remployment assistance, and 40.3% were not.
Many full time workers who were laid off and furloughed were left wondering why.
"During this process, many individuals were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits. There are numerous reasons someone could be deemed not eligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits, including wage base period issues, lack of wage history, among others," said a DEO Press Secretary.
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez from South Florida is calling for some of those 'issues' to be waived because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes because of the wage base period requirement, people who do seasonal work, have more recent work history, and who have lower income could be overlooked by the system.
"Likely, a lot of people are being disqualified by the arbitrary rules that calculate how much you work," he said. "Myself and others have been calling for weeks that the governor fix a number of aspects in our system to fit what's happening with COVID," he said.
The state has paid about half of the eligible claimants already.
"This weekend, we made significant progress in processing claims so that individuals across the state could get paid their Reemployment Assistance benefits. Last week, the department paid almost $412 million to Floridians, which is an increase of almost 600% over the week," said the DEO.
Many people who were denied claims, like self-employed and contract workers, are eligble for federal assistance through the CARES act. However, there still is not a way to apply to those funds. The DEO said that should change this week.
"Many of the individuals that were deemed ineligible this weekend could be eligible for federal benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The agency is working diligently to get more detailed information to individuals who may be eligible for federal benefits. This week, individuals will be able to log-in to CONNECT and complete the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program after they were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits," they said in a statement.