State to pay thousands of held up unemployment claims



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida is going to pay thousands of unemployment benefit claims that have been held up due to the state's troubled new system, officials announced Saturday.

State officials said the U.S. Department of Labor has given the state permission to pay any jobless claims that have been held up for more than seven days.

Federal officials arrived in Tallahassee on Friday to provide assistance to the state. Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity requested input from the federal government after launching the flawed system.

Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said the step should serve as a "great relief" to those who claims have been not paid.

Roughly 200,000 Floridians receive weekly unemployment benefits. But the number of people whose unemployment claims are getting held up has dramatically increased since the state installed a new $63 million system.