In a time of unprecedented crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak, out of work Floridians are finding unemployment benefits meager and nearly impossible to get.
Gov. DeSantis has the power to change this.
He must act now.
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We, the undersigned Floridians urge you to take immediate and comprehensive action to improve Florida’s Unemployment Insurance program to ensure unemployed Floridians and our communities get the kind of monetary relief they need immediately without unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape. Specifically, we urge you to:
- Waive work-search, availability, work registration, and the one-week waiting period requirements.
- Increase the weekly benefit cap and expand the maximum number of weeks for eligibility to 26 weeks as a base, before additional provisions from the Federal Government.
- Institute the Alternative Base period, allowing workers to count their last quarter of work to meet eligibility requirements.
- Increase staff resources for facilitating online, telephone, and in-person applications submitted at CareerSource centers and for processing claims.
- Issue guidance clarifying that workers who cannot work due to layoffs or have been asked to take unpaid leave as a result of COVID-19 should be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
- Issue guidance clarifying that voluntary separations due to quarantine, unsafe working conditions and other necessary actions related to COVID-19 do not disqualify a worker from receiving unemployment benefits.
- Upon an employer appeal, shift the burden of proof from the employee to the employer.
These measures would ensure that Florida workers and our communities receive the vital financial help they need, when they need it, during this critical time. Thank you.
Floridians Are Speaking Out
Learn More About Florida's Unemployment Insurance Crisis
The novel coronavirus has thrown Florida’s fragile economy into disarray, and tens of thousands of Floridians are facing sudden job losses and personal financial crises. Simply put, the State of Florida must do everything in its power to stave off the severity of an economic downturn and support working people.
Florida's Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is on the front line of this economic crisis and it simply isn't up to the task.
Unemployment Insurance was designed to help workers and their families but also to be a vital tool for economic stimulus, giving workers spending power to keep local economies from collapsing. Over the past twenty-years, the Florida Legislature has refused over $800 million in federal funds to modernize the system and in 2011, Governor Rick Scott signed legislation that made it almost impossible for workers to access, shortened the time workers are eligible for benefits and made it much easier for employers to deny any benefits. If workers can access the system, their benefits are capped at a meager $275 per week. In fact, Florida’s UI system has been ranked dead last in the nation!
Florida's UI Trust Fund has the resources to assist working families and our state's economy.
There is currently $4 billion in the UI Trust Fund; that money needs to get out the door, into the pockets of the working families who need it and then into our local economies to help minimize the coming economic catastrophe.
Every $1 paid in benefits generates $1.64 in economic activity! Gov. DeSantis must immediately modernize this system by both increasing benefits and removing unhelpful and unnecessary barriers so the sudden influx of unemployed Floridians can get financial relief now.
A reliable UI system is essential for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
In order for Florida to effectively contain COVID-19, Floridians must stay home. However, any quarantine measures will inevitably fail if Floridians do not have the financial security they need to pay their bills.