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DEO won't say how many unemployed Floridians have had their benefits paid in full

Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 17:39:48-04

Months are passing like the blink of an eye yet, issues with the state's unemployment system are still a problem for so many.

“They are the working class, the backbone of our state, they deserve timely, efficient and adequate unemployment payments,” said State Senator Lori Berman, who represents District 31.

Members of the Florida Democratic Caucus say they continue to field calls from people worried about losing everything.

These people have dignity, self-respect, they are hard-working taxpayers but they are facing true food insecurity, eviction, and defaults,” said Berman.

The state's unemployment rate now sits at 11.3% which is a full percentage point higher than the national rate even though the Tampa Bay area gained 7,800 jobs in July.

DEO shared July labor stats virtually Friday and says they don’t anticipate a new wave of unemployment claims.

We’re actually seeing a decline overall in initial claims and continued claims,” said Adrienne Johnston, DEO’s Chief Bureau of labor market statistics.

The governor’s office sent a statement to ABC Action News that says, “over 98% of claims that need to be paid, have been paid, and the system is improving every day.”

But according to the DEO’s dashboard, that number only reflects someone who’s received at least one payment.

“DEO won’t tell us how many who have filed for unemployment benefits have received payment in full,” said State Senator Audrey Gibson, who represents District 6. “We still don’t know.”

It’s why they are continuing to call for a special session.

“I’m not comfortable in the least with continuing to allow Governor DeSantis to act unilaterally,” Berman said.

The Governor’s office added, “special Sessions are called to address specific legislation or a proposal to be voted on. If the Senate caucus has legislative language or a specific fix, the Governor would gladly study it and offer feedback.”

Friday, DEO also announced the launch of a new Labor Market and Economic Data Platform called Florida Insight.