United States Department of Labor data show Florida lags all other states, with about 74% of initial claims filed through the week ending April 25 not yet advanced to the insured unemployed caseload, a category that indicates the applicant has been approved for benefits.
Some 995,000 claims have been approved nationwide under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the self-employed, but gaps between the states raise the question of whether workers across the country have equal access to the benefits.
Yet despite frantic efforts to fix Florida’s reemployment assistance program, lawyers who work with low-income clients there describe a broken system that has left unemployed workers with nowhere to turn.
JT Henderson, a spokesman for Kentucky’s workforce development cabinet, suggested that the state is handling the claims better than is indicated by the Labor Department data, which show that 61% of claims have not yet advanced to insured unemployment.
He said the state has made payments on about 70% of initial claims, both PUA and regular unemployment.