Processing Delays Preventing Some From Getting Federal Benefits

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The State’s Unemployment Agency is reporting they have paid out 96% of eligible claims, but less than a third of those found ineligible for state benefits have qualified for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, 1.8 million claims have been processed so far, and 627,113 claims were found ineligible for state benefits.

Once ineligible for state benefits, a claimant can apply for federal benefits. As of Friday, 176,468 claims were found eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

It’s a number Marta De Torres believes would be higher if people like her were able to apply for PUA.

“We deserve a system that takes care of us, not leaves us, like a lost number somewhere, this is really crazy,” Marta De Torres said.

De Torres says her unemployment claim has been active since April, but she can not apply for PUA benefits until her claim is processed and deemed ineligible.

“If they would have made me ineligible then I would have been able to go ahead and apply for PUA, but I have been in a dormant position for the past two months,” De Torres said.

There are also some people who are still waiting for their PUA claim to be processed.

“Nothing in the inbox, no calls, it just says pending,” Jennifer Scott said. Scott has waited more than a month for her PUA claim to be processed.

She applied for federal benefits back in April, and says her claim is active but the monetary eligibility is still pending.

“When you are to the point where you have creditors calling you, you don’t have enough money to eat, you don’t know what you are going to do, that’s scary, this is the lowest point of my life,” Scott said.

Some states have started reporting the number of federal unemployment claims received to the U.S. Department of Labor, but Florida has not.

A Department of Labor spokesperson told NBC 6 Responds that“Florida, similar to some other states, has begun paying PUA and PEUC, but has not yet been able to program the functionality in its system to enable reporting for these programs. States are required to report and we expect Florida and all states to report as required. It is not unusual, however, as new programs are being ramped up that reporting lags implementation.”

According to the DEO’s online dashboard, 193,147 unique PUA claims have been received so far.


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