**FILE** In this July 30, 2008 file photo, jobs brochures are seen on display at a state unemployment office in Sunnyvale, Calif. The government says Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, the number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, the second straight weekly drop from a six-year high. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
The national unemployment rate is at a 14 year high at 6-point-5 percent. Florida’s latest jobless rate is even higher at 6-point-6 percent, with new numbers slated to be released later this month. This becomes a bigger problem as about one in five people who apply for unemployment benefits, are turned down.
Harold Chisholn was laid off from his flooring job three months ago.
He just filed an unemployment claim. It can’t come soon enough. He says, “I may lose my house. I already went down to one car.
It is what it is.”
Every year about half a million people in Florida file an unemployment claim. About one if five people who apply for unemployment benefits in Florida is denied. In most cases, people who earn less than 3,400 bucks don’t qualify for benefits. People who take buyouts may also be denied.
Still, the State Agency for Workforce Innovation says there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to awarding a claim. Robby Cunningham is with the agency, and says "people should apply whether they’re certain they qualify or not, because the experts here at the agency will be able to determine, they’re eligibility.”
Governor Charlie Crist hopes the federal government can help the state’s unemployed. He said, “we have also reached out to members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats they look like they are going to have a session sometime next week, that will deal with some of these issues in Washington, and we want to help.”
One way the state is helping is through a 1.4 billion dollar roads project. The Accelerate Florida program announced earlier this fall should create 40,000 jobs.
The agency is asking anybody with questions about their eligibility to call the unemployment hotline at 1-800-204-2418.