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Unemployed Floridians may qualify for additional funds through Federal extension programs

Posted at 4:23 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 17:50:26-04

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s been a grueling six months for folks relying on unemployment benefits.

Vanessa Brito, who lives in Miami, decided to help people navigate the system after she noticed how confused people were about the process.

“[People who] are on unemployment for the first time in their life, they’re not from a tech era, you know, who is their voice?” Brito asked.

Helping them has been a goal of hers since the summer. That’s when a lot of people who were coming up at the end of their 12 weeks of state unemployment, were filing for the PEUC 13-week extension, which is now nearly exhausted too.

“For the most part, they thought that 'this is the end of the road for me right?'” Brito said.

Not the case, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Officials say those folks may now qualify for EB, which stands for Extended Benefits — a 6-week extension program that begins once you’ve exhausted PEUC. After that, the DEO says you can apply for federal funds under the PUA program.

“PUA — initially it was put out there for 1099 workers, self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors; however, W-2 employees can also qualify once they’ve extended certain programs,” Brito said.

This would bring folks to the end of the year (December 26). The weekly benefit amount would equal what you’ve been getting from the state since the beginning, which, according to the DEO, is capped at $275 a week.

But it’s still unclear what will happen at the beginning of 2021 if Congress doesn’t come to a compromise on a new relief package.

“Right now we have no relief package that’s even viable in passing by Congress,” Brito said. “So all we have are these three programs.”

Click here for more information on the extension programs DEO is offering.