Q&A – Could We Be Getting Duped By The Florida DEO?

Today’s entry: Hello Brian. This is a follow-up on the earlier e-mails relative to the FL un-employment. I just read from one of our local Florida papers (the PB Post July 5) some disturbing details, and have no way of knowing if they are correct, as many articles are not, or are just not complete enough.

But here they are, and if true are quite disturbing:

  • Noted as of June 30 – there are still 2.8 million claims still unpaid
  • Florida was the only state whose trust fund gained money during this crisis time
  • Florida received $21 million in interest on the funds earmarked by the Federal Govt for unemployed in FL

There are more details but you probably have much more than this. However – and of equal or greater concern is the response, or lack, of from our two Senators. Thank you Brian for your diligence – and pursuing the truth.

Bottom Line: The Palm Beach Post article you cited combined equal parts of facts, falsehoods, and misdirection. You certainly shouldn’t take it at face value. I’ll break it down starting with what’s factual in the article, the $21 million in interest earned on federal funds owed to Floridians. It’s correct that $21 million in interest was earned on supplemental federal unemployment assistance owed to Floridians, however, context is key. As presented in the article, you might be led to think that Florida purposely withheld those funds owed to unemployed Floridians for the benefit of the interest. There’s no evidence that’s the case. Instead, it was a byproduct of the well-documented failures of the original Connect System which led to hundreds of thousands of Floridians waiting weeks longer than they should have due to the failure of the state’s system to process the high volume of claims. Because of the delays, the federal funds reached the state before most claims were paid out. There’s nothing new and nefarious about the $21 million in interest earned by the state on federal funds. I think we’d all agree it makes sense to hold funds in an interest account as opposed to one which wouldn’t yield interest. Now for the most blatant falsehood. The number of unpaid claims. 

Not only is it outrageously false for the Post to suggest 2.8 million claims were recently still unpaid, but that also happens to be the total number of claims received by the state in total since March 15th! Now, in the Post article, they said“some of the 2.8 million claims”, a deliberate effort to mislead and it did to you. But even “some” is false. The state’s dashboard reflects 100% of all eligible claims have now been paid out. The only issues would be with those who weren’t eligible, fraudulent claims, or those recently filed. None of which was explained in the story. Now for the rest of the misdirection...

What’s happened with the state’s unemployment system isn’t a matter for Florida’s Senator’s to take up to begin with and it’s frankly outrageous that they focused on Chuck Schumer's blatantly partisan effort to attempt to investigate Florida’s issues. The only time it’d be appropriate for the federal government to step into Florida’s affairs would be if there was evidence of deliberate activity to misuse federal funds and if the state didn’t address the failures of its system. Just the opposite has been true. Governor DeSantis acknowledged the failures in the system, removed the head of the FDEO from oversight of the unemployment process, hired numerous contracting firms and vendors to assist with claims processing while a new system was being developed and tasked the state’s Inspector General with investigating the failures in the system and those responsible. How many failures do you think we might find within New York state’s government? Should the federal government be investigating all of those for them? 

One other significant, misleading/false narrative about the Connect System, is that it was the product of Rick Scott’s administration. That’s demonstrably false. Governor Charlie Crist signed the law mandating a new system be created and his administration signed the contract with Deloitte Consulting to create it. The Scott administration inherited the process from Crist. They did not create it. Make no mistake, the failures never should have happened, and we do need accountability. That’s exactly what the state’s IG is tasked with currently, as it should be. There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. Those are the facts. 

Submit your questions using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Photo by: Getty Images North America

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