Trump Executive Order on Unemployment Pay May Never Become Reality for Floridians

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What to Know

  • Trump's executive order adding $400 weekly in unemployment requires $100 of that to come from the states
  • In Florida, adding that extra money would require a special session -- which Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state leaders so far have not supported
  • Any new money in Floridians' pockets will likely have to come from D.C. when Congressional leaders agree on an aid package

President Donald Trump’s executive order adding $400 more in weekly unemployment payments may add more confusion to an already hectic situation.

Some already question whether it’s constitutional -- Congress is the branch of government responsible for appropriating money -- and whether it can be implemented. 

The order required $100 out of the $400 new payments each week to come from the individual states. Florida caps its unemployment payments at $275 a week, one of the lowest in the country. Adding another $100 would require a special session before the heated November election. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Speaker of the House Jose Oliva and Senate President Bill Galvano have so far not supported a special session in Tallahassee. 

“So the state of Florida has money. It’s just that it’s very stingy. We could probably come up with the $100 a week and we really should. It’s just that Republican leaders in Tallahassee don’t want us to go back to Tallahassee,” said State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami.

So for any new money in Floridians' pockets, it will likely have to come from D.C. when Congressional leaders agree on an aid package. 

Many people are asking for what Trump is trying to do. Per the United States Constitution, it must come from the legislative branch.

Cassandra Duncan is a Margate bartender and waitress. The pandemic and the government imposed shutdowns set her back months financially.  

Just when the world was opening back up in May and she returned to work, her 2-year-old son D.J. caught the coronavirus. The family had to quarantine for three more weeks. 

“Luckily, he didn’t have symptoms. None of us had symptoms. We were just basically home. At first it was very scary, and just, it was very scary,” Duncan said. 

The quarantine gave her time once again to try to get the money she was owed for unemployment insurance for when she was originally laid off in March. She’s applied but her account is locked because the system has her name misspelled online. 

“I still haven’t gotten anywhere with anybody. Everyone I speak to is the same thing, they tell me they’re contacting their supervisor. That I have to send this email over again,” Duncan said.

Florida continues to have a hard time shelling out $275 per week for individual claims. The federal assistance has ended and the $400 in additional payments may never materialize. 

“I feel that I’m at a dead end with it right now. And I feel like that’s how they made the system to be because they don’t want to pay all these people money,” Duncan said.

The state of Florida has an unemployment rate of 10.4% and has already distributed nearly $3 billion in state dollars.

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