MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As expected, the most unemployment claims during the COVID-19 crisis are in Miami-Dade, followed by Broward.

The state lists more than 824,000 people have filed for unemployment. Of those, less than half have received money.

CBS4’s Steve Goldstein spoke with Laurie Yadoff, the director of the Economic Advocacy and Community Health Project at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida.

He asked her how the state has handled the situation.

“They’ve been slow to handle them. I’m hoping that this weekend they got started receiving some money. The system became overwhelmed and there was not a quick response by the state,” she said.

Confusing the situation is the fact that some people, due to technical issues, filed multiple claims. Others do not have the technical ability to file, and that’s led to other problems.

“The people we speak to, who I speak to, who have difficulty accessing a computer, who have difficulty even using their phone to file applications. So to get responses, they, you know, they don’t have the ability to really understand what’s happening,” she said. “For those people who don’t have any safety net in their bank account, who don’t have family that can provide them with financial assistance, it’s been very hard for them and many of them have had to seek out mental health treatment.”

Yadoff believes in the people she is assisting – she has faith that they’re doing all they can to work.

“The people I speak to want to work and they’re sad that they lost their jobs. They will do everything they can to try to get employment when it becomes available,” she said. “So these are hardworking people that don’t want to be on the system.”

There are two ways to collect unemployment: from the state and from the federal CARES Act.

People may be eligible for one or both.

On Monday, the state said those who didn’t get Florida money can file for another federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

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Steven "Goldie" Goldstein

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