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Issues with state’s jobless benefits continue amid need for more aid

COOPER CITY, Fla. – It wasn’t easy for Susanna Bailetti to admit that she is a victim of the pandemic-stricken economy. Her voice trembled. Her eyes misted over with tears.

Before the pandemic, she was a successful investigator. She did background checks and enjoyed freelancing. She said it’s demoralizing to not be able to find work.

“My credit cards are maxed out at this point,” Bailetti said. “It’s just, it has been hard.”

Florida was not prepared for the demand for unemployment benefits when the pandemic started to impact South Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis had to make adjustments, but there are still problems.

Bailetti was receiving unemployment benefits through the pandemic relief program. She said a clerical error has made it so that she hasn’t received a dime since the end of August. No one has been able to fix her problem.

“It almost seems like that they don’t want to pay out unemployment,” Bailetti said.

About 13 million people are at risk of losing their unemployment benefits after Dec. 31. Congress was finally moving to deliver more aid to prevent the economic calamity.

The vaccine is coming. But with the worsening pandemic — rising cases and rising hospitalizations — the economic pain isn’t over just yet.

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