ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — In Florida, you can only get 12 weeks of state unemployment. That’s why the new federal program that started on Monday is so important. It gives people at least 13 more weeks of benefits.
Hundreds of thousands of Floridians lost work in mid-March, meaning they’re likely one or two weeks away from losing their state unemployment benefits.
That’s where the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program comes in.
The link for it should have started showing up on Florida’s CONNECT website for people who are eligible.
The program is part of the federal coronavirus relief bill. Orlando state Rep. Anna Eskamani says it’s something that many have been waiting for.
“Not only do we have Floridians who have already exhausted their weeks before the pandemic began, but of course we have Floridians who are approaching the end of their weeks and they were really, really anxious to have these additional weeks be made available to them,” Eskamani said.
To be eligible, you have to use all your state benefits.
Once the 13 weeks of PEUC are up, you can be eligible for another program which can run for 39 weeks.
In Florida, those added weeks are extremely important. Most states offer 26 weeks of jobless benefits, compared to just 12 in Florida. In Florida, the duration can be extended up to 26, only when the jobless rate climbs over 10 percent, which it is now. However, that will not be triggered until October.
“Of course, the governor could do an executive order to change that, but he hasn’t, which has made the PEUC program even more dire and important for Floridians who are approaching the end of their state unemployment compensation weeks,” Eskamani said.
The Department of Economic Opportunity says it is sending emails to people who are eligible for PEUC.