June 23, 2021

Ending federal unemployment benefits based on misguided premise, won't work [The Gainesville Sun]

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.

Mike Williams writes:

"As a long-time construction worker, I became very experienced with the unemployment insurance system. Each day we went to work on a project was a day closer to its completion and a day closer to temporary unemployment.

The benefits we received only helped keep food on the table while we searched and waited for the next job — and our employers paid premiums into the fund, knowing the benefits paid out helped keep us around, a skilled workforce ready to go for their next project.


Based on our research and reports by the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and others, pulling out of this program will impact around 116,000 Floridians. These are unemployed workers who either never qualified for state benefits, exhausted state benefits, may be furloughed from their job waiting to get back to work, lack access to child care or are unemployed for a whole host of other factors."


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