Ernst Virgile, in Sunrise, Fla., April 22, 2020, was able to get a claim lodged in Florida’s overwhelmed unemployment system in early April, after loosing his job at the Fort Lauderdale airport during the coronavirus pandemic. (Angel Valentin/The New York Times)

MIAMI — After Ernst Virgile lost his job at the Fort Lauderdale airport, he sat up late at the computer in his living room night after night, trying to apply for unemployment, refreshing his browser again and again while his wife was sleeping.

He worried about their three children, and about making payments on the car and the house he and his wife, who also lost her job at the airport on the same day, worked so hard to buy in 2018. He sometimes got in

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