florida unemployment

HEROES Act Could Offer Extension of Federal Unemployment Assistance

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A large stimulus bill called the HEROES Act is making its way through Congress, and, if passed, could provide additional assistance for unemployed people looking for help. 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the relief package in May, and it is currently pending in the Senate. 

The House version of the HEROES Act includes a laundry list of potential aid, including provisions that help people with things like Cobra health care, child care support and pay raises for frontline workers. 

The relief package could also extend the $600 per week Federal Unemployment Assistance until January. The current FPUC provided through the CARES Act is scheduled to end July 31st. 

“Whatever benefits you qualify for once you started collecting them, let’s say it is now, they run out and stop being provided after July 31st,” U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz said. 

She said the the HEROES ACT could offer some relief for unemployed people looking for help beyond that date.

Groups like the Non-Partisan Congressional Budget Office are predicting unemployment to remain in the double digits late into 2020. 

“It extends the deadline for those Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits to be paid, it also extends the unemployment insurance benefit that is the $600 on top of your normal state unemployment benefit,” Wasserman Shultz said.  

But some people, like Stuart Cassel, are still waiting for the first round of federal relief. Cassel says his PUA application is awaiting employer verification even though it shouldn’t be. 

“I don’t understand why it would say that because i am the employer, and they know that,” he said. Cassel runs a travel agency and says he doubts his business will be back up and running anytime soon. 

“I am not going to see income at all until 2021... Anything I have had for this year has either been cancelled or carried over to next year,” Cassel said. 

The Department of Economic Opportunity provided NBC 6 with the following statement:

“The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment is 100% federally funded and is available for weeks of unemployment beginning March 29, 2020, and ends the week ending July 25, 2020. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity remains committed to paying eligible Floridians whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Floridians who have filed claims before the 7/31 deadline will receive payment they are owed, but the additional CARES Act funding only applies to weeks filed prior to July 31.” 

Without an extension of benefits, like the HEROES Act, U.S. Representative Wasserman Shultz said she is worried about what will happen to people still running into application submission and processing delays. 

“We need to hammer out what are the key things that people are going to need to make they sure they are not going to have their lives crumbling around them,” she said. 

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