WINK News has confirmed that the long-term unemployed in Florida will have to wait for extension of their benefits, even though an impasse in the U.S. Senate has been broken. State lawmakers have to take action to approve the extension of funds for those who've been jobless for a year and a half. The extension would give them another 5 months of benefits. It's believed the long-term unemployed number about 240,000 in Florida.
State legislators could have acted on Tuesday during their special session, but they did not.
That upsets Tim Tew of Fort Myers, whose benefits ran out June 5th of this year. He is waiting for another 5 months of benefits, amounting to 275 dollars a week. "I am not believing that they took no action! They are connected to us, they don't care," said Tew of the lawmakers. "They have no idea what it's like to struggle to get by. That extra money could help me keep my house. Now I have to wait for them to hold another special session."
The mere idea of extending jobless benefits for 2 years for some people, concerns taxpayers like Nick Trevisani of Ft. Myers. "Two years of unemployment benefits makes it sound like a job in itself. I believe some of these people just quit looking for work, because the benefits will allow them to scrape by," he told WINK.
Others disagree. Ellen Boliek said: "You can't lieve on unemployment benefits, no way. That is below the poverty line. Nobody would want to do that. The problem is, people need 2 years because there are no jobs out there!"
Money from the federal government will flow at once to the newly unemployed. But lawyers for the state government confirm to WINK: money from Congress for the long-term unemployed, so-called extended benefits, will require action by the state legislature. Republicans who control the legislature have indicated they will try to have another special session in early September, to consider economic aid for victims of the oil disaster in the Gulf. Unemployment benefits could come up at that time.