A Coronavirus Update from Congressman Alcee Hastings

Dear Friend,

As the entire world continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19, my office and I are hard at work to put Floridians first, including the needs of workers, families, and small businesses. As we end National Nurses Week and Teacher Appreciation Week, I am so grateful for the dedication and professionalism nurses and teachers, and all essential workers, who are working harder than ever during this crisis to support our communities’ needs.

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis began to ease stay at home orders with a partial re-opening of Florida, except for Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties. This week, the Governor announced Palm Beach County can move into Phase 1 of reopening on May 11, and the Palm Beach County Commission voted to reopen beaches beginning on May 18.

Do you think Palm Beach and Broward counties are ready to re-open?

  • Yes
  • No

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I continue to hear from my constituents that Florida’s unemployment system continues to fail them, at a time when help is needed the most. This is beyond unacceptable! To learn more what help you may be eligible for, please see the outline below of the new federal program providing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 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.
  • $600 per week of federally funded Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits for up to 16 weeks from the date you apply as of 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.  For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions asked.  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 January 27 through December 31, 2020; 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. (See this flow chart from the DEO for additional guidance. 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. Therefore, 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. I will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and share relevant information to make sure you and your family are prepared, so please make sure you are subscribed to my e-newsletter to receive these important updates. 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. With warm personal regards, I remain.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Alcee L. Hastings, Member of Congress, 20th District of Florida, www.AlceeHastings.house.gov

About Carma Henry 21223 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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