ORLANDO, Fla. — At the end of July the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits expired. With Congress at a stalemate over an extension, the president signed an executive order offering states $300 a week in unemployment; 30 states have already applied for the money, Florida is not one of them.
In a statement to Eyewitness News the Governor’s office said, “Florida is currently reviewing guidance issued by the Department of Labor and the Federal Emergency Management Administration to determine the best course of action that will preserve the state’s financial stability while providing important assistance to Floridians in need.”
Where is the money coming from?
Because the president cannot appropriate money, the executive order only redirects $44 million in unused money from FEMA to be used by the states for unemployment. Originally states would have had to pay a 25% match to access the funds (pay $100 to draw down $300). But with state budgets already stretched thin due to the pandemic, the federal government revised this and allowed access the $300 a week making the extra $100 in state money optional.
Which states did FEMA approve?
So far FEMA has approved: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
It is unclear how long the $44 million will last given how many states have already been approved to start paying the benefit. Although experts agree once the money is gone it will not be replaced.
More than 3.5 million Floridians have filed for unemployment since March with another 66,000 initial jobless claims in the last reported week.
Florida has the lowest weekly unemployment in the nation at $275 a week.
Cox Media Group