The State of Florida is facing very high unemployment today and into the foreseeable future. According to statistics from the U.S. Treasury, the Florida Department of Revenue has spent $600 million dollars in unemployment benefits since May 2008. With unemployment in Florida currently impacting over 300,000 persons, the situation is devastating for many working persons. Even worse, unemployment benefits average $300.00 per week, not nearly enough for even subsistence.
According to South Florida workers’ compensation attorney Randy Zeldin, with offices in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, high unemployment historically dampens the willingness of injured workers to fight for workers’ compensation benefits. In a bad economy, injured workers are afraid to “rock the boat” with their employers, fearing retaliation or termination from the job. According to Randy Zeldin, this results in many injured workers in Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale foregoing workers’ compensation benefits or accepting less medical care or benefits than the law allows.
Under Florida workers’ compensation laws, it is illegal to retaliate or terminate an injured worker, for seeking and receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Randy Zeldin believes that many injured workers do not know that they are legally protected against employer abuse, for seeking lawful workers’ compensation benefits.