Unemployed Floridians start to see Lost Wages Assistance payments hit bank accounts

Long-awaited benefits from the federal government, part of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, started to hit bank accounts Tuesday. But we can’t expect them to continue just yet.

So far, FEMA has only approved the State of Florida for three payments of $300 to cover the first three weeks of August. We don’t know if the state plans to apply for more weeks of payments.

READ: Gov. DeSantis extends unemployment waivers until Dec. 5

Many Floridians are thankful that some help has finally arrived.

“I was ecstatic, that $900 is necessary to pay my bills,” said Bonnie Armstrong of Naples. “I was so surprised; I mean I was practically posting it on Facebook on my phone while I was still on the website because I wanted everyone to know it was coming.”

Armstrong also runs a Facebook group for thousands of unemployed Floridians to help them find answers. She calls it her new job. Although, she hopes to be back to her real job, serving at a Naples restaurant, in October.

“My hope is that the snowbirds come back and so I can get my job back,” Armstrong said.

READ: Florida’s unemployed still struggling despite national drop in jobless claims

While she is grateful, she calls the Lost Wages Assistance payments a “bandaid.”Armstrong says Congress needs to step up and agree on a new stimulus soon.

“Compromise, make a deal,” Bonnie Armstrong said. “There are so many millions of us out in the country that are really suffering with this. And Florida jobs aren’t coming back, so we need it.”

Armstrong isn’t confident in the job market considering she’s still seeing big companies like airlines and theme parks still laying off workers.

Also, people who earn less than $100 on unemployment don’t qualify for extra federal benefits from the LWA program.We asked the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity if the state plans to help those people but we have not yet received a response.

Read the full LWA program announcement from Governor DeSantis here.

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

Reporter:Sara Girard
Writer:Drew Hill
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