Why does Florida treat unemployed workers so badly?

Florida's workforce deserves an unemployment insurance program that is both fair and accessible.

Op-Ed (Florida)

George Wentworth, Cindy Huddleston
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
October 1, 2015

Tags: Unemployment Insurance, Workers Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Florida Legal Services (FLS), National Employment Law Project (NY)


Today, Florida’s unemployment insurance program continues to operate like an obstacle course, and it’s getting worse. The number of disqualifications for reasons relating to work search and availability doubled to more than 137,000 in the year after CONNECT was launched, even though average weekly claims dropped by 20 percent. Does it seem reasonable to believe that so many jobless workers suddenly decided to stop complying with the rules? Or is it more likely that the system is playing an automated game of “gotcha”?

The fact that fewer than one in eight jobless Floridians is receiving unemployment insurance cannot be explained away by an improving economy. The state and national unemployment rates have followed a very similar trend line in recent years, but since 2010, the number of jobless Floridians found eligible for benefits fell by 62 percent compared to 35 percent nationally.