Florida real estate agents seeking unemployment benefits are stuck waiting as the state plans to roll out a new system to process claims from independent contractors and gig economy workers.
More than one-fourth of the 170,000 total claims processed by the state have been rejected so far, according to the Associated Press. That could mean that those who were rejected are self-employed and are only eligible for federal benefits.
Under the $2 trillion stimulus package, unemployment insurance was expanded to include gig workers, with the federal government offering up to $600 per week on top of what states provide.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) said it plans to provide more information on the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and how Floridians can apply in the coming week. The department has been overwhelmed with unemployment requests and criticized for its handling of them.
In the meantime, a spokesperson for DEO said gig workers can apply for benefits through the current system, and though they’ll likely get denied, their information will be moved over to the new system to handle federal claims.
The state said on Tuesday that it has sent out nearly 95,000 benefit checks. [AP] — Katherine Kallergis