Improve Access to Unemployment Benefits in Florida

Target: Florida state legislature

Goal: Increase access to unemployment benefits by repealing unfair system that makes applying for unemployment benefits unnecessarily difficult.

Florida passed a law last year that made the process of applying for unemployment benefits more difficult. As a result of the law, thousands of eligible unemployed individuals in Florida have been denied unemployment benefits. The law made several changes to the unemployment system in Florida. These changes include: requiring all applicants to take an online skills review test, requiring that all claims be filed electronically, and reducing the duration of unemployment benefits. The cumulative effect of the law has been to reduce the number of people receiving unemployment benefits.

The new unemployment law in Florida unfairly restricts access to unemployment benefits. Since the law passed, only 15% of unemployed individuals have received unemployment benefits in Florida compared to 27% nationally. The law has also increased the number of people denied unemployment benefits due to procedural reasons to 200%. The addition of a skills test to the process of applying for unemployment benefits unnecessarily complicates the process. Individuals have to complete a 45 question test on reading and math skills and if they fail to complete the test they can be denied benefits. There is little customer service assistance provided to help people understand the process of filing for unemployment benefits and completing a claim. It has also become much more difficult for people to even apply for benefits since they have to file the application electronically. Prior to the law, people were able to file a claim over the phone, on paper, or online. Now people with limited computer skills or access have a much more difficult time filing a claim for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment insurance benefits are critical to provide people with a basic livelihood when they lose their jobs. States are required by federal regulations to have administrative procedures in place to pay benefits when benefits are due. The new unemployment law in Florida violates this requirement.

By signing the petition below you will help urge the Florida state legislature to repeal the unjust law that makes filing a claim for unemployment benefits unnecessarily difficult.


Dear Florida state legislature,

The new law that changed the unemployment benefit program in Florida (H.B. 7005) unfairly complicates the process of applying for unemployment benefits. Since the law passed, over 400,000 people have been denied claims for unemployment benefits for procedural reasons. Only 15% of unemployed people in Florida receive unemployment benefits compared to 27% of people nationally. Florida Legal Services and the National Employment Law Project have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor alleging that the new law violates federal regulations that require states to have administrative procedures in place to ensure that individuals receive benefits when they are due.

Unemployment benefits provide individuals with the means to survive if they lose their job through no fault of their own. The new law in Florida essentially restricts access to unemployment benefits for Floridians by limiting the methods of filing for a claim and by the addition of a skills test. Individuals may only file claims online making the process difficult for people without computer access or limited computer skills. Applicants must complete a 45 question test of math and reading skills to be eligible for benefits. Individuals with limited literacy skills may have difficulty completing the test thus making their application incomplete and leaving them without necessary unemployment benefits.

I urge you to repeal H.B. 7005 to remove unnecessary obstacles to applying for unemployment benefits.


[Your Name Here]

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39 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Debbie Biere
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