Groups Challenge State for Denying Benefits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Two legal groups say Florida’s violating federal law with procedural barriers that deprive thousands of jobless workers from receiving unemployment compensation.

They also say data shows Florida has erected more obstacles to unemployment compensation than any other state.

Florida Legal Services and the National Employment Law Project on Thursday released a letter outlining their allegations sent last week to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

They contend a 45-question, online skills test and reporting requirements for job searches and availability to work have unfairly prevented otherwise qualified jobless workers from getting benefits.

The groups allege those barriers violate requirements in federal grants the state has received to administer its unemployment insurance program.

That includes prompt payment of benefits to workers who meet basic eligibility requirements.