Nashawn Cooper lost his job last month, as more than 20 million people in the United States, and has had to wait four weeks for touching his unemployment allowance, the administration is struggling to cope with the influx of applications.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said by telephone to AFP this man, 36-year-old, who lives in Atlanta (Georgia), in the south-east of the country, and had no more than four dollars on his bank account.
Other, less fortunate, are still waiting.
At the beginning, Jessica Milisci, a 45-year-old, who is also part of the cohort of the newly unemployed, has called the unemployment office 100 to 150 times per day, in vain.
This resident of Inverness, Florida, has also had to wait for four weeks before the validation of the file and if it says it is now ” very happy “, she wondered why it took so much waiting.
Since mid-march and the beginning of containment and massive in the United States, unemployment reached levels never seen before, with millions of additional requests each week.
Thursday again, these are 5.2 million people who are added to the statistics of claimants of unemployment benefit.
Such a level of new cases has overwhelmed the services.
In the United States, the unemployment allowance is managed and distributed by each of the 50 States that make up the country. They have their own policy but follow the guidelines of Washington, which pays them a sum based, in part, on the unemployment rate, which last year was at a historically low level of 3.7%.
But the elected representatives of the States in the Congress often neglect the federal administration in charge of unemployment, which “is simply not a thing that people think of outside of a recession,” notes Michele Evermore, an analyst at the National employment law project.
For her, ” no State handles this comfortably “.
8% of the unemployed compensation
In New Jersey, the governor has launched a public call for volunteer programmers skilled in Cobol, a programming language, 1959, to return to service and operate effectively a system overwhelmed.
And in Florida, near Miami, people were waiting in their car for hours, just to receive a paper form to apply for unemployment, so that the website couldn’t handle the influx of requests.
The governor of this State, Ron DeSantis, last week announced the online release of new servers to handle the requests.
His nickname is ” the State where the sun shines “, but Florida has, like others, made unemployment benefits more difficult to obtain, explained Michele Evermore.
To be able to simply put in a request, you must fill out an endless questionnaire and the weekly amount of benefits has been capped at 275 dollars, compared to 365 million in the neighboring Georgia.
Thus, in the first quarter of 2019, a little more than 8% only of the inhabitants of Florida to the unemployed received an allowance, has further detailed Ms. Evermore.
According to her, ” States that have reduced access in the course of the last decades are today not able to process requests as they would like “.
“At the end of the month, I’m cooked “, says Reuben Isaacson, a 25-year-old, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, and was fired last month by the startup online business that employed him.
His application for unemployment benefit is waiting since the first week of march. Therefore, it has not been able to pay his last month’s rent, and relies on her mother to ensure the daily expenses.
The newly unemployed will also be able to count on 600 dollars extra each week for four months, as promised by the stimulus of the economy of 2.200 billion negotiated at the end of march between the administration Trump and the Congress.