August 22, 2021

In Florida, DeSantis cut jobless aid just as virus began terrifying new wave

This post was last updated on December 8, 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.

Yaganeh Torbati writes:

"DAVENPORT, Fla. — By June, Meli Feliciano’s family appeared to have finally found a measure of stability after being jolted by the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. Her husband had secured a good job in construction, and she was receiving hundreds of dollars in weekly federal and state unemployment aid, giving her some breathing room while she submitted job applications each week. She kept records of it all in a pink binder that her daughter had once used in kindergarten.

That’s when calamity struck.


'An abrupt stop in that assistance really does not benefit families. It does not in any way force people back into the workforce,” said Cindy Huddleston, a senior policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. 'And it has the effect of pushing people into poverty and feeling hopeless with no end in sight to the pandemic.'"


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