Florida Opts Out Of $300 Federal Unemployment Benefit To Push People Back To Workforce
Charities prepare for rise in need as unemployment benefit ends
Catherine Hawley reports
TAMPA, Fla. – Florida is now one of 26 states to end pandemic unemployment benefits early. Over the weekend, federal payments of $300 a week expired for Floridians.
Meanwhile, employers across Tampa Bay have had a hard time filling open positions.
Anna Maria Oyster Bar has four locations in Manatee County and owner John Horne tells us they are down at least 10 people at each restaurant.
“I’ve got one of my restaurants that I have not had an applicant for the kitchen in two months. No one’s walked in the door looking for a job for two months,” said Horne. “We’re using Indeed we’re using Facebook, we’re using all the different, Craigslist, you name it. We’re trying to get people in to come back and work.”
On June 26, Florida cut off extra $300 weekly unemployment payments through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program. The state made the decision to optout of that additional benefit as part of its “Return to Work” initiative, a move Horne hopes will bring more workers through his doors.
“Over the last week, we have seen an uptick in applicants,” he said.
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According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 503,000 people remain jobless in the Sunshine State, while more than 510,000 jobs are available.
Seven States Approved For $300 Federal Unemployment Supplement For The Jobless
By: Laura Cassels– August 17, 2020 5:48 pm
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has announced that seven states so far have been approved to receive federal Unemployment Insurance supplement funds of $300 weekly under a presidential executive order but Florida is not one of them.
Its not clear whether Florida authorities intend to apply for the funds, which would draw down $300 of federal funds to add to state-based funds for unemployment benefits. Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed interest last Tuesday but also caution, saying his legal team is assessing potential legal hazards.
Theres only so much you can do through executive action , DeSantis said then. I want to make sure theres no legal risk for us. If someone was to challenge this, then wed be left on the hook.
In Florida, the net state unemployment benefit, based on the number of weeks as well as the amount of $275 weekly, is the lowest in the nation, according to U.S. Department of Labor data analyzed by States Newsroom.
The states approved for federal unemployment supplements of $300 weekly are Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Utah.
According to FEMA, states requesting the supplemental funding must demonstrate they are contributing at least $100 of their own, and they may use CARES Act dollars allocated to them. But DeSantis has said he does not support using CARES dollars allocated to Florida because they are already obligated.
Florida Ends Extra $300 Weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Payments Effective Today
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program has official ended as of today in Florida, ending extra $300 per week payments.
Floridas Department of Economic Opportunity said there are more than 460,000 online jobs posted online that are available throughout the state for job seekers.
Floridas employers are also seeing employment growth, as more Floridians, including some who completely left the workforce, are now eagerly reentering the workforce. Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce, said Dane Eagle, secretary of the Florida DEO.
Florida businesses and employers are hiring across the state and need unemployed Floridians to return to the workforce, according to Florida DEO.
For the week beginning June 27, 2021, eligible reemployment assistance claimants will no longer receive the supplemental $300 weekly FPUC payment.
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What States Are Getting The $300 Unemployment
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming announced they will stop giving unemployed workers an extra $300 in benefits sometime over
Florida To Be The Next State Sued For Pulling Boosted Unemployment
by Maurie Backman | Published on July 15, 2021
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Jobless workers are fighting back against states that are ending boosted unemployment. And they’re winning.
When the American Rescue Plan — the massive relief bill that put $1,400 stimulus checks into people’s bank accounts — was signed into law in March, the economy was in a worse state than it’s in today. As such, one provision that bill included was a $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits through the beginning of September.
Over the past couple of months, however, 26 states have sought to pull the plug on that boost ahead of schedule. But jobless workers have fought back, suing some of their respective states to reinstate those benefits and let them run their course through Labor Day.
So far, such lawsuits have popped up in the following states:
And they’re getting results. This week, a judge ordered boosted jobless benefits to be reinstated in Maryland through early September. They were originally cut off on July 3. Lawyers in Indiana were also successful in getting boosted benefits restored.
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Go Back To Work Get A Bonus
Several states are also offering one-time bonuses to those receiving jobless benefits who go back to work. Four of them, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Montana and Arizona are ending the federal unemployment supplement early.
Oklahoma, for instance, which cut off the federal $300 benefit on June 26, said it would give $1,200 each to the first 20,000 people who get a job.
Meanwhile, Arizona will pay $2,000 to those who take a full-time position and $1,000 to those who go back to work part time. To qualify for the one-time payments, given “on a first-come, first-serve basis,” former unemployment benefits recipients will have to be on the job for at least ten weeks and earn $25 per hour or less.
In Arizona, were going to use federal money to encourage people to workinstead of paying people not to work, Ducey said in the statement announcing the bonus and the end to federal financial assistance.
Connecticut and Colorado are also offering one-time cash payments to some who go back to work.
But the bonuses and pay raises are not expected to last.
In coming months as schools reopen, virus fear recedes and supplemental benefits expire, buoyant labor demand should be matched by increasingly stronger labor supply as individuals gradually reenter the workforce, Boussour of Oxford Economics said in a note.
Workers should be given the leeway to find the job that makes the most sense for them, Stettner says.
A Fight For Unemployment Benefits
The New Hampshire lawsuit alleges that the state’s Department of Employment Security didn’t have the discretion to opt out of the federal programs earlier.
So far, workers who filed lawsuits in their states have found mixed success.
Lawsuits in Arkansas, Maryland, and Oklahoma have been successful and benefits have been reinstated in some cases, only temporarily. But the cases in Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and now Florida have been denied by judges.
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling requiring Gov. Eric Holcomb to provide federal pandemic benefits. The appeals court ruled that state law doesnt require participation in federal programs and that the lower court “abused its discretion” when previously granting a preliminary injunction.
Because we find that Indiana does not require participation in the CARES Act programs, the states decision to terminate the benefits did not violate the statute, Judge James Kirsch wrote.
Around 4 million workers were affected by the early cancellation of benefits in those 26 states, according to estimates by the Century Foundation.
Another approximately 7.5 million unemployed workers will be left with no benefits at the end of this week, according to an analysis by the Century Foundation. The last payment of the pandemic unemployment benefits which officially expire on September 6 will be sent out on Saturday or Sunday depending on the state.
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Are You In Line For A Payout
MORE than half of US states have either already withdrawn from the federal aid program or plan to.
Whether you’re due cash or not depends on the state you live in, and whether lawsuits have been successful.
States that have brought back the benefits after lawsuits
All states that have ended or plan to end the benefits early
- Missouri, Iowa, Mississippi and Alaska
- Indiana, Alabama, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wyoming
- Florida, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Utah, Arkansas, South Carolina and South Dakota
- Montana and Oklahoma
Indiana initially appealed the decision but the request was rejected, and the state began paying the $300 weekly benefits earlier this month.
The payments are also retroactive to the week ending June 26, which is one week after it axed the support on June 19.
In Maryland, a judge recently also ordered the state to bring back the benefits.
While the governor’s office said it “fundamentally disagreed” with the order, it added it won’t appeal the ruling, reports CBS Baltimore.
If you’re already claiming unemployment benefits, you’ll get the extra $300 a week automatically.
Meanwhile, similar lawsuits in Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas are still pending, of which Ohio is expecting a decision within days.
The cut in aid by the states affects Americans who’ve been receiving $300 extra a week in unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Will I Get Back Payments Automatically Applied Or Manual Claim/actions Required
Once states are able to update their IT systems to pay the extended PEUC and PUA benefits they are automatically adding the extra weeks to eligible claimant accounts. One the claimant claims or certifies for the relevant weeks they should get payment for current and past eligible weeks.
However due to the complexities, unique cases or system limitations some states area asking claimants to take manual actions to get back payments. For example in Pennsylvania , claimants on PEUC are being requested to email the UC Help Desk for backdating retroactive weeks. Similarly in IDES in IL is asking claimants to call their call center representatives to discuss backdating their claims
So essentially if you cannot claim your past weeks online or you have received a current/recent week payment but no back payments for prior eligible weeks or any official notification of delays, then you will likely have to take a manual action via your state UI agency to get your payment.
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Lawsuit Seeks To Restore Floridas Unemployment Benefits
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is one of nine states that ended additional $300 unemployment payments more than two months early on June 26th because thousands of jobs were going unfilled, but a lawsuit filed late Sunday seeks to restore the weekly stipend.
An estimated 150,000 Floridians lost $300 a week in additional federal unemployment payments at the end of June.
Now a new lawsuit filed on behalf of ten unemployed Floridians seeks to force the state to make the payments.
Gia Cuccero is one of the plaintiffs.
Theres restaurant help and bartenders. Ive never done anything like that in my life. Im 52 years old and I dont know what Im going to do, said Cuccero.
The American Cares Act funding runs through September 6th, but in May the Governor said it was keeping people from looking for work.
Weve got almost half a million job openings in the state of Florida, said Governor Ron DeSantis.
And what he did was throw out the baby with the bathwater, said Attorney Marie Mattox, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case.
Florida law reads in part says the state must secureall advantages available under the provisions of federal law relating to reemployment assistance
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For Cuccero, the future remains uncertain.
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Economic Strategy Or Politics
The governors decision has been praised by hospitality industry leaders such as Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Ending the supplemental FPUC payment of $300 will help the industry to regain pre-COVID levels, Dover said. She encouraged jobless people to visit FRLA.org to find job opportunities.
Jasmarie Rosa Hernández, co-owner of El Coquí Bakery of Deltona, supported the measure, highlighting that it has been difficult to find employees to join our team. I am grateful that things are back to normal and we look forward to growing our team and our business in the sunny days ahead. “
But critics of the Republican leader consider his decisions to benefit his own political interests.
The governors goal here is not for people to go back to work. He is using the government to maximize the profits of his corporate supporters by forcing Floridians to accept the lowest possible wages for their work, Torres said.
In total, 22 states led by the Republican Party have terminated benefits early in the midst of the pandemic.
This impacts an estimated 3.6 million unemployed Americans who will not receive a total of $21.7 billion in benefits as a result of state actions, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation.
This heavy-handed tactic will hurt both businesses and workers in Florida, Torres concluded.
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Biden Arpa Unemployment Benefit Extensions
Congressional leaders and the President have now passed another COVID relief stimulus package into law. The package includes funding for extending the $300 FPUC weekly boost, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs to September 6th, 2021 or the earlier end date some states have chosen to end participation in these federally funded programs.
Eligible claimants who certify under existing programs like regular state UI, PUA, PEUC or EB for the applicable weeks will automatically get the extra $300 FPUC unemployment Claimants who had exhausted their PUA or PEUC benefits and needed to wait for their state unemployment departments to update UI programs will be retroactively caught up for back payments in subsequent weeks however their may be some manual intervention required in certain cases as discussed below.
Floridians Who Are Jobless Or Experiencing Economic Hardship May Be Eligible To Receive Various State Financial Aid To Tide Them Over For A Period Of Time
Falling on hard times can happen to anyone but there are programs in place to cushion the fall. In Florida residents have access to a number of programs whether they should find they are out of work through no fault of their own to financial assistance covering expenses, be that food, rent or utilities.
Heres a look at some of the programs that are available in Florida.
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Lawsuit Seeks To Force Florida To Keep Paying $300 Unemployment Benefits
TALLAHASSEE Broward County residents struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic have filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by Gov. Ron DeSantis administration to cut off federal unemployment money for Floridians.
The lawsuit, filed Sunday in Broward County circuit court, contends that the DeSantis administration violated state law last month when it stopped providing $300 a week in federal assistance to jobless people. The money, approved by Congress as part of COVID-19 relief efforts, came on top of state unemployment benefits.
The DeSantis administration halted the federal assistance June 26, pointing to efforts to spur people to return to the workforce. But the lawsuit, which includes 10 named plaintiffs, said the payments should have continued until Sept. 6, as authorized by Congress under a program known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, program.
Each of the plaintiffs have suffered economic hardships because of COVID, have had difficulty finding work and now with the discontinuation of the FPUC face even more pressing financial hardships, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit, which names as defendants DeSantis and Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle, seeks an injunction to force the state to reinstate the federal money. Also, it seeks retroactive payments to June 26.
DeSantis office and the Department of Economic Opportunity did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.
Is My State Processing Unemployment Back Payments
The answer is yes. All state UI agencies and departments are processing claims and will backdate your claim to when you first became unemployed, as reported by you when you enter your last day of work. You will need to generally contact them to update your unemployment date if incorrect so that they can correctly pay retroactive benefits. However states like Florida, North Dakota, Arizona and Ohio are still well behind making these retroactive payments due to IT system issues around certifying eligibility for past weeks and taking initial claims for new worker groups eligible for unemployment and the extra $600 under PUA provisions.
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What About States Ending Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Early
Several states have already announced they will be ending their participation in the federally funded unemployment programs early in a bid to encourage jobless workers to return to the workforce.
In this situation retroactive payments for any eligible claims filed prior to the states pandemic program participation date will continue to be processed and paid. Retroactive benefit payments could occur several weeks after the end date for covered weeks as states update systems to account for the end of these programs and revert back to their traditional unemployment programs/systems.
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While the $600 FPUC program has now ended , with no formal extension in place due to a Congressional stalemate, it was been replaced by the Lost Wages Assistance unemployment benefits program. You can see this article for details on the now expired temporary LWA $300 weekly payment that President Trump approved in mid-August via executive order. Most states have made all payments under this program including retroactive payments.
So if you are still getting at least $100 of benefits under current and enhanced benefit programs then you should continue to certify on weekly or bi-weekly basis to receive current and retroactive $300 weekly payments. Both the payments are being administered and paid by state unemployment agencies. So you would need to contact them if you are having issues with these payments. See below and comments section for helpful tips.