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12 Billion and Counting

July 30th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

As a new federal report shows economic activity in the US dropped by a third between April and June.

Florida has hit new milestones when it comes to unemployment and there has been an unprecedented amount paid in benefits to a historically high number of people.

The first 28 days of July saw 523,565 unemployment claims filed in Florida.

That’s more than were filed in all of May or June.

The number would likely be higher, but some are still having trouble using the state’s online Connect system.

“You get three quarters into the application process, so then it crashes, and you have to start the process all over again,” said Joseph Riopel who has been unemployed since July 1st.

This week saw the state cross the $12 billion mark in total payments.

It also crossed the three million mark in the number of claims processed.

Four of every five dollars paid out came from the federal government.

State funds paid out so far total $2.6 billion.

That leaves just $1.4 billion in the reemployment trust fund.

The state’s trust fund will likely be exhausted before the end of the year, forcing it to borrow money from the federal government to keep paying claims.

“It feels great,” said Scott Read of Cape Coral, who recently went back to work after searching for two and a half months.

“I’m not a guy to sit around. I like to be active. We also have a plan on how we want to live and move forward, so I had to get back on track, working read hard on it,” said Read.

Scott’s wife Kathy hasn’t been so lucky.

“Three weeks ago, her benefits just stopped for no reason. So as of July 4th, she hasn’t seen a paycheck,” said Read.

On average, the state is denying one in every three reemployment claims that are filed.

Florida employers can also expect to see higher assessments next year to replenish the re-employment trust fund.

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