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Florida still working to extend federal unemployment programs, begins paying out extra weekly $300

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says it’s started processing the $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments which were extended and modified by the Continued Assistance Act, also known as the extension of the CARES Act in the second federal stimulus bill. People collecting unemployment should see these payments hitting their accounts along with their underlying state benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

DEO also says it’s still working on implementing the continuation of PEUC and PUA.

CONNECT will not be available Sat. January 16 through Mon. January 18. DEO says it’s using that time to “to implement the CARES Act programs, process payments and send necessary correspondence to claimants including tax documentation.” CONNECT will be available again Tues. January 19 at 8:00 a.m.

If you’ve exhausted your weeks under those programs, and you’re still unemployed after Dec. 27, 2020, DEO says you will be able to request benefits “soon.”

If you have exhausted your benefits and are waiting for the continuation of PUA or PEUC, DEO says you should not submit a new application at this time. After DEO has continued these programs, some may need to submit a new application for regular state benefits if you “can establish a new benefit year.”

These programs are retroactive to the week ending January 2, 2021.

In an email response to our questions, a DEO representative said:

“Eligible claimants who have exhausted their PUA benefits and their accounts read “Regular UC/ not eligible” should be placed back on the correct program when the Continued Assistance Act is fully implemented into the CONNECT system.”

“The Department is making the necessary program adjustments to make these additional weeks of benefits available quickly, and will continue communicating as weeks become available. Eligible claimants will receive the money they are owed as quickly as possible.”

If you are still unemployed and about to exhaust your regular state benefits, keep requesting your benefits. When DEO has fully implemented the continuation of PUA and PEUC, you should be able to request benefits on those programs if you qualify. If you don’t request your benefits, it could “delay program extensions” on your claim. If you’re still unemployed, you’re on PUA or PEUC and haven’t exhausted your benefits, keep claiming your weeks.

The “Extended Benefits” program is not the same thing as the continuation of PUA and PEUC. Read about it here.

DEO recommends logging on to CONNECT every two days to check for messages and updates on your account and monitoring your email closely for instructions.

We asked when DEO will implement Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), a new program created in the second stimulus bill to give certain workers an extra $100 a week, and a representative said they would update us as quickly as possible.

WINK News will continue pushing for more answers to your questions.

Reporter:Sara Girard
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