A Coronavirus Update From Congressman Alcee Hastings

Dear Friend,

As the entire world continues to feel the impacts COVID-19, my office and I are hard at work for you, and workers, families, and small businesses across our nation during this trying time.

Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the easing of stay at home orders and a partial re-opening of Florida starting on Monday, except in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties. Despite phase one of the Governor’s plan to re-open, I have heard from far too many of our neighbors that Florida’s unemployment system continues to fail them, at a time when help is needed the most. As unemployment claims across our country exceeded the 30 million mark this week, Florida took the lead with more unemployment claims filed each week than any other state. Last week alone, 432,465 jobless claims were filed in Florida.

This is quite simply unacceptable! I have and will continue to urge the Governor to make the changes necessary to get benefits to those who are desperately in need, but have been denied, or are still waiting for their application to be processed by the State’s overwhelmed system. I stand ready to assist the Governor should he choose to exercise his authority to make the long overdue overhaul of this broken system, including expanding the length and amount of benefits.

In some good news, a new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which was authorized by Congress via the CARES Act, is now in place to help the self-employed ‘gig’ workers who were excluded from previous benefits. Please find an outline below of the federal PUA benefits, and of the resources available to you from the State, if you have lost your job.

For Most Unemployed Workers:

Employees who are laid off or furloughed through no fault of their own, or who are earning less than $275/week due to reduced hours, are eligible for:

*Up to $275 per week for 12 weeks of state-benefits effective from the date you apply.

*13 additional weeks of federally funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits at the state rate after state benefits run out; and

*$600 per week of federally funded Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits for up to 16 weeks from the date you apply as of Sunday, March 29, 2020.

*Florida law also requires an additional 13 weeks of state-funded benefits if unemployment rises above 10.5%.

*To apply for State Re-employment Assistance, the DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available.

*For a step by step guide on how to apply read For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions. For additional information about Reemployment Assistance benefits visit www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19.  If you have questions for the DEO, call (800) 204-2418 for assistance Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m-6:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

For Unemployed Workers Who Were Denied State Benefits:

Many of the individuals that were deemed ineligible for state benefits —including self-employed workers like independent contractors, freelancers and part-time ‘gig workers’, and workers who don’t have a long-enough work history to qualify for state benefits —may still be eligible for federal benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Applicants should utilize the following criteria when applying for PUA:

*Apply at www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to request PUA.

*PUA assistance provides up to $275/week for 39 weeks of federally funded benefits effective from the date you applied, with eligibility extending from Jan. 27 through Dec. 31; and

*PUA assistance provides $600/week of federally funded benefits for up to 16 weeks benefits for up to 16 weeks from the date you apply as of March 29, 2020.

***If you fall into this category and applied for benefits on or before April 4, you should reapply at FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to request PUA. If you applied on or after April 5 and were deemed ineligible for state benefits you should expect to receive additional application information via email from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for next steps.

I know it is vital that you have the latest information on what our federal, state, and local governments are doing to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. This is why I have made some important changes to my Coronavirus Information page on my official website, which now includes three tabs on Resources, Legislative Responses and What I Am Working On.

The safety of my constituents is of the utmost importance to me and my staff. I will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and share relevant information to make sure you and your family are prepared. If you have any questions or concerns – from how to get your stimulus check to navigating your unemployment benefits – please do not hesitate to call my district offices in Tamarac at (954) 733-2800 or West Palm Beach at (561) 461-6767, as well as my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-1313.

Make sure you subscribe to my e-newsletter to receive the latest news from my office regarding the response to COVID-19. For more information on the various issues that I am working on, visit my official website at www.alceehastings.house.gov. With warm personal regards, I remain,

 

 

Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hasting, Member of Congress, 20th District of Floirda, www.AlceeHastings.house.gov

 

 

 

 

About Carma Henry 20922 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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