By PAT RAIA, [email protected]
Beginning this month, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will opt out of the program that provides Federal funds to boost weekly payments to those receiving unemployment benefits from the State. Now some are hoping that the DEO decision will encourage prospective workers to enter the job market.
Currently, state unemployment benefits range from a minimum of $32 to $275 weekly.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program gives those who are currently receiving state unemployment benefits an additional $300 every week.
On May 24 the DEO announced that Florida will end its participation in the Federal program on June 26.
During a May 24 press conference in Miami, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the DEO decision is intended to help employers fill the nearly half-million jobs currently available in the State.
“A year ago we got money out the door – particularly federal money – and that was appropriate,” DeSantis said. “Now we’re transitioning from relief in the midst of a crisis, to a more traditional employment outlook; I think this aligns the incentives better and will help people, especially the Mom and Pops.”
Morris Porton, president and CEO of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce hopes it does.
“We have a lot of members who are looking for employees – I get two or three calls a week from people,” Porton said. “Don’t get me wrong, some people legitimately need the help, but we have had people who were making more money not working than they did when they worked.”
Some Federal Reemployment Assistance benefit programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), will continue, temporarily, the DEO statement said.
These additional federal benefit programs are set to expire on September 6, the agency said.