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As COVID-19 Increases, So Does Unemployment

FBI warns unemployment benefits fraud spiking; Friendswood man among victims
FBI warns unemployment benefits fraud spiking; Friendswood man among victims

WASHINGTON – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, so do the number of people applying for unemployment. 

The system has made record payments, yet some are still not seeing a dime.

The state’s unemployment dashboard shows Florida crossed the three million claim mark and has paid out a whopping $10 billion since the middle of March. About one in six claims filed is a duplicate, but the dashboard shows nearly 2.5 million unique Floridians have filed. So far, 1.7 million have been paid.

For the first half of July, the state has been averaging 30,000 new cases a day. “I’m very grateful to be back at work,” said Judy Tanzosh. Tanzosh, who first filed in late March, went back to work and got her first paycheck before her first check came from the state. 

She filed a second claim after the initial claim was denied.

“They eventually did approve my PUA claim, but they approved it with a date of June 14th, and so they paid me the $125 PUA and $600 Federal, and according to them I am paid in full,” said Tanzosh.

Judy believes she is still owed $9,400 in back benefits.  

“I mean, people are losing their lives,” said Kathleen Payne.Payne is in worse straights. 

She was laid off March 22nd and hasn’t seen a dime, forcing her to drain part of her 401k. “My cousin works for a lawyer. She’s gotten check after check after check. Why haven’t I received anything, or other people in my situation? How can that happen? How can that fall through the cracks,” said Payne.

So far, the state has spent more than half of its $4 billion unemployment trust fund. And employers who have been forced to fire or lay people off can expect to pay as much as $350 an employee to replenish the reemployment trust fund.