SWFL’s unemployed push for DeSantis to apply for additional lost wages assistance
If you’re out of work, there’s no extra money on the way. You’ve heard the president ordered a new unemployment package, but Florida hasn’t even applied for it yet.
Bonnie Armstrong is tired of waiting.
“We’ve been out of this $600 now almost a month so that’s affecting a lot of people already,” she said. “People can’t live on $125 a week or $275 a week.”
She wants Governor Ron DeSantis to get moving on applying for lost wages assistance that could give the unemployed an extra $300 a week. So, she started an email campaign.
“With my Facebook group of unemployed people, I thought well, here’s a job for us to do. Let’s bombard his email and call his office and let him know that this is something that he needs to apply for,” Armstrong said.
The memorandum requires states match that federal payment with $100 of their own money. Last week, DeSantis explained Florida can’t afford it and he wants to ask the Department of Labor for a loan.
I wanna make sure that there’s no legal risk for us, if someone were to challenge this, then we’d be left on the hook.
But FEMA says states don’t have to supply an added $100, people just have to already receive at least $100 in benefits.
“The majority of states so far have indicated that they will take the $300 federal payment, With the match being provided by their existing unemployment insurance payments,” said Keith Turi, assistant administrator of recovery for FEMA.
FEMA says 11 states have been approved for the grant, and eight applications are pending. Florida isn’t one of them.
The Department of Labor says it wants to help clear the way, offering technical assistance to incorporate the program into states’ unemployment systems.
“My thought is I guess they’re trying to see if Congress will come up with something so they don’t have to do this,” Armstrong said.
This week, when we asked both the Governor’s Office and the Department of Economic Opportunity about gif and when the state would be applying for the grant, each provided the same statement: “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.”
That’s little help to Armstrong.
“Unemployed Floridians really need this money, and we don’t understand why he’s delaying,” she said.
LISTEN UP! Just got off a media conference call with @FEMA and @USDOL about the president’s $300 Lost Wages Assistance program. Here are my takeaways for Floridians (thread).@winknews #floridaunemployment
— Sara Girard (@SaraGirardNews) August 20, 2020
WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard tweeted this thread of information above, explaining more about how the lost wages assistance program works.
The money for the lost wages assistance program comes from FEMA’s disaster relief fund and will last until Dec. 27 or until the money runs out.
If approved, each state should be allotted at least three weeks of payments.
She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.