Starting Saturday, the $300 federal unemployment benefit will end for Floridians.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced on May 24 that it would end benefits near the end of June, joining 26 states that will no longer participate in the federal unemployment benefits earlier than planned.
The initial expiration date for the program was Sept. 6. Weekly payments through Florida’s unemployment program total $275 a week, among the lowest in the nation.
The hope is cutting the benefits early will get more people back into the workforce.
The Florida American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations started a petition asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to backtrack on his decision to suspend payments.
More than 7,000 signatures have been collected as the group says that ending this help means over 100,000 Floridians will be cut off from the benefits.
“This is money that doesn’t cost the state anything. It doesn’t cost the state business anything. This is our money that we send to D.C. we should be able to get it back and put it to good use in the economy,” said Dr. Rich Temple, with the Florida AFL-CIO.
Florida’s current unemployment rate is 4.9%.
“The market today is saying we need to hire people, but we can’t because the unemployment benefits are too high. That’s why we want the return-to-work initiative to be understood,” said Dane Eagle, executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity.