At the end of July, the $600 extended unemployment benefits paid by the CARES Act ended. After the Congress was deadlocked on a new stimulus bill to help people hurt by the pandemic, President Trump signed an Executive Order on August 8, directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, to provide resources to those whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. States must apply by September 10, to receive these benefits. According to the GOP Ways and Means Committee, the States have 2 options. (1) States have the option of offering UI claimants an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits without spending any additional state dollars. (2) States can offer claimants $400 by adding $100 in benefits through their own separate state funds or Coronavirus Relief Funds. This extended unemployment benefits program is called the Lost Wages Assistance Program.
On August 28, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will submit Florida’s application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. This program, authorized by a memorandum from President Trump, provides additional temporary benefits for individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance for weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020. Pending federal approval, this will allow Florida to offer an additional $300 per week to eligible Reemployment Assistance claimants. To be eligible for this benefit, claimants must be currently receiving at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program weekly benefits and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Payments will be retroactive to August 1, 2020 once approved. FEMA announced this weekend, that Florida’s application was approved. LWA benefits will end by December 27, 2020, unless the funding is exhausted or replacement legislation is passed.
Floridians that exhausted their normal 13 weeks of state unemployment benefits may apply for the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, offered through the federal CARES Act and administered by DEO. The PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to a claimant who has exhausted their regular Reemployment Assistance benefits. Floridians may apply for PEUC benefits once the balance of their current claim is exhausted. How to Apply for PEUC.