Floridians who are currently receiving unemployment benefits may see a $300 bump in their weekly benefits.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity would apply for the Lost Wages Assistance Program. If approved by the federal government, eligible Floridians will receive the additional dollars without any secondary applications, similar to the COVID-19 stimulus checks.
“On behalf of Floridians who are continuing to face challenges finding employment, I would like to thank President Trump for providing additional funding while they get back on their feet,” DeSantis said. “We appreciate the opportunity to provide this temporary assistance through the Lost Wages Assistance Program.”
The extra funding for Florida’s unemployed, however, will likely be short-lived because Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief money funds the program. Both FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor forecast the funding to last roughly three weeks after a state’s application is approved. What’s more, the agencies warn that funding could dry up at any time.
To qualify for the federal boost, the claimant must be currently receiving at least $100 weekly in an approved Reemployment Assistance program. Claimants must also be able to certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed because of COVID-19.
The announcement said the benefits would be retroactive to Aug. 1.
The number of Floridians applying for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits went up last week after a decline for much of August, according to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity data. In the past week, there were 3.56 million unique unemployment claims in Florida, meaning they were not duplicates.
In all, $14.22 billion went to unemployment claimants in the state, with $10.13 billion coming from federal pandemic unemployment compensation. Another $536.44 million came through federal pandemic unemployment assistance and another $549.01 million from federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.
Florida has paid out about $3 billion since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis as businesses across the state laid-off workers, eliminated positions, or closed entirely. That’s nearly $100 million more than the previous week, which saw a $90 million single-week increase.