‘How am I going to pay my bills?’: Florida workers asking for permanent changes to unemployment program

Unemployment claims have reached more than 3 million nationwide since last week, and 3,000 hospitality workers are likely out of work in Central Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Unemployment claims have reached more than 3 million nationwide since last week, and 3,000 hospitality workers are likely out of work in Central Florida.

Unions across Florida, including the hospitality workers union, are asking for permanent changes to Florida’s unemployment program.

Several workers across Central Florida have been furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“The only think that I was thinking was, ‘How am I going to pay my bills?’” said Yazmin Deida, a cook who was furloughed over the weekend.

Deida said she is looking for work but in the meantime, she has applied for unemployment.

The maximum payout is $275 a week.

“It’s not enough even for my rent. I pay for my rent $690, and yesterday I paid $90 for my medication,” Deida said.

Thousands of Florida workers and their unions are asking the governor to raise the unemployment benefits to more than $275 a week and extend it past 12 weeks.

Union leaders called for waiving the waiting period to get money, expanding on who can get assistance and providing benefits for 26 weeks.

Earlier in the week, the governor suspended some of the requirements to gain benefits.

The union said temporary fixes are nice but Florida needs a permanent change.

It wants Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign an executive order.