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Governor Scott makes it difficult to get unemployment benefits and health insurance [Westside Gazette]

By Caldwell, Roger
Proquest LLC

There is something wrong in Florida when the governor blocks and refuses funds from federal laws that can help the citizens in the state. At this time, our state ranks 49th out of 50 for the highest percentage of working people without health insurance. This is a terrible record for the governor, his administration, and legislature, but no one seems to care.

It makes no sense that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld by the Supreme Court and our governor remains stubborn and refuses to take advantage of its benefits. The ACA makes it possible for working Floridians who do not have employer-provided health care to acquire affordable health insurance.

Starting July 1, 2012, state officials and the governor rebranded Florida's unemployment compensation system, and now calls it reemployment assistance. The new reemployment assistance system has made Florida one of the hardest states to get unemployment, and the unemployed workers must apply for unemployment with a computer online. Almost all applicants cannot use the option of a telephone, and there is also a requirement that applicants complete a 45-question online exam that tests reading, math, and research skills.

James Miller, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) says, "Unless a claimant has a language barrier or impediment or disability preventing use of a computer, they will be required to provide an e-mail address, and use a computer." Many poor folks do not have computers and many people are not comfortable using a computer.

The US Department of Labor is investigating the changes based on a complaint filed in May by the National Empio yment Law Project and Florida Legal Services. The FDEO is using every method to discourage residents from filing for unemployment benefits. Only 16 percent of eligible unemployed Floridians receive state jobless benefits, and the US Department of Labor thinks there is something wrong with the numbers, because unemployment numbers in the state are higher than the national average.

Copyright:(c) 2012 The Gazette Newspaper Group


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