People push for an extension of the $600 CARES Act benefits

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 13:19:41-04

Floridians that receive the $600 federal check may not get them after this week if lawmakers in Washington, D.C. decide not to extend those benefits.

“I Google it every day, I Google 'CARES Act extension' every day,” said John Knitter.

He’s fortunate to have found a new job, but his three roommates who live with him in a 4-bedroom apartment have not. They work in the hospitality industry.

“There are no jobs to go back to right now, regardless of whether people want to go back to work. And I know my roommates do,” he said.

He worries about paying rent.

“Long-term who knows? It’s scary and without anything in place to protect us, without any other opportunity out, there there’s nothing more we can do,” Knitter said.

Federal Lawmakers in the house passed the Heroes Act which would extend the $600 weekly benefit until the end of the year.

“The Senate has not moved on the heroes act and we’re hearing different ideas discussed in the Senate,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, who represents District 47. “The Senate Democrats recently proposed an increase of the $600 weekly benefit amounts as long as the state maintained an unemployment rate that is more than 6%.”

Florida’s unemployment rate for the month of June was 10.4%, down from 12.9% in April.

Lawmakers in the Senate are expected to roll out their version this week, but Rep. Eskamani fears that extra money won’t be part of the plan.

“People are suffering! Floridians cannot survive on $275 a week if that’s even what they are receiving,” she said.

Because the CARES act expires July 31, this is the last full week someone would be eligible for the $600 check.

A petition online demanding an extension until the end of the year has already gained major traction — with more than 1.5 million signatures.