Poor federal marks for Florida agency that oversees delivery of jobless benefits
Wake up and good morning. Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, which is supposed to make sure jobless Floridians get their benefits in a timely way, fails to meet federal performance standards in at least three key areas. That's bad enough in normal economic times, but wretched in a downturn and a state unemployment rate approaching 12 percent.
The state agency, headed by Cynthia Lorenzo (see photo), does not make enough initial payments quickly enough, takes too long to determine someone's eligibility and too often fails to resolve appeals in the time prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor. So says an Orlando Sentinelreport by staff writer Jim Stratton -- here it is in full -- based on reports filed with the Labor Department.
In all three categories — core measures of the agency's responsiveness, the Sentinel notes — Florida ranks near the bottom third in the nation based on Labor Department data covering the second and third quarter of 2009.
Florida is 37th when it comes to making payments, 34th in processing appeals and 33rd in determining eligibility. The Labor Department wants states to make 80 percent of legibility decisions within 21 days of an applicant's request. In the period covered by the reports, Florida handled less that half of its cases in that time. The department requires that 60 percent of appeals be addressed within 30 days. Florida processed just 12.5 percent of cases in that timeframe, the Sentinel states.
The newspaper says the Agency for Workforce Innovation did not respond last week to calls seeking comment on the poor performance.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist