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March 13, 2021

5 ways lawmakers can fix Florida’s unemployment system — besides the dysfunctional CONNECT [Miami Herald]

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Lawrence Mower writes:

"During the last year, legislators’ offices were flooded with calls from desperate Floridians looking for help with their unemployment claims, leading to what is likely the greatest constituent outreach effort in the Legislature’s history.

Many lawmakers vowed to fix the system when they returned to Tallahassee.

Two weeks into the annual 60-day session, Democrats have proposed a variety of bills to fix unemployment, but none of them have received a hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

...

Under state law, unemployment benefits don’t start until you apply for them. And even then, you still have to wait a week before receiving them, an obstacle for applicants that dates back to when unemployment claims were handled manually, according to the Florida Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank [emphasis added]."

Read more on miamiherald.com

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