Fight to help those unemployed by pandemic continues after federal assistance expires

Three federal programs helping unemployed people expired today.

That means millions of jobless people across the country have lost their paychecks, boosting their unemployment benefits.

While a judge denied a request to reinstate the program, the group spearheading the fight to help unemployed people in Florida said it’s not giving up.

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The group is planning to take the state to the District Court of Appeals.

Gov. Ron DeSantis cut the program early, saying he wanted to help businesses start hiring again.

Vanessa Brito, a Miami-based community activist, used to work with the state of Florida, and now she spends her spare time helping people navigate the unemployment system.

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Most recently, she’s spearheaded lawsuits against the state so unemployed people who stopped receiving their Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on June 26 could get it as backlog payments.

The checks could add up to as much as $2,000 per person.

“I will do everything possible,” Brito said. “I haven’t spent this long working and helping people for free to just give up.”

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Brito is also working on other lawsuits to issue one-time payments from CARES Act funding, and to force the DEO to pay people who are stuck in a pending status after having issues with their unemployment claims.


Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.