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Agency for Workforce Innovation
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For Immediate Release 
June 2, 2009  

Contact:
Robby Cunningham, (850) 245-7130

 

AWI ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO 250,000 FLORIDIANS

~New law infuses estimated $418 million in recovery funds into Florida’s economy~


TALLAHASSEE – The Agency for Workforce Innovation announced today that an estimated 250,000 unemployed Floridians will be eligible for Extended Benefits as a result of legislation signed by Governor Charlie Crist. Senate Bill 810, sponsored by Senator Rudy Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Representative Dave Murzin (R-Pensacola), allows eligible Floridians to receive additional temporary unemployment compensation made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“In conjunction with this law taking effect, we have launched an online application for Extended Benefits at www.floridajobs.org to begin processing these critical payments to eligible Floridians as quickly as possible,” said Agency Interim Director Cynthia Lorenzo. “This new law will provide a financial lifeline to an estimated 250,000 Floridians who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and boost our state’s economy with the infusion of an estimated $418 million in federal recovery funds through the end of the year.”

Payments will begin in early July and will be made retroactive to February 22 for eligible claimants. The initial retroactive payments may be as high as $5,100 for some claimants, with additional payments of as much as $300 a week for up to a total of 20 weeks.

“During these historic economic times, Florida’s families are hurting and this legislation is a powerful tool in helping them get back on their feet,” said Senator Garcia. “By allowing for individuals looking for work to continue collecting unemployment benefits, it assures their families are taken care of as they look toward better times.”

To receive Extended Benefits individuals must:

  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Exhaust all entitlement to regular and Emergency Unemployment compensation benefits prior to February 22, 2009, and the claim benefit year ends after February 22, 2009 or
  • Exhaust all entitlement to regular and Emergency Unemployment compensation after February 22, 2009.
  • Not be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits in any other state (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) or Canada.
  • Be actively seeking work and provide work search documentation for each week claimed.
  • Not refuse an offer of suitable work or fail to apply for suitable work.
Eligible Floridians are invited to apply online at www.floridajobs.org, which is the most efficient way to process claims. For those who do not have internet access, forms will be mailed from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation beginning June 3.

In addition, the legislation:
  • Amends portions of unemployment compensation law related to the solvency of Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund in order to replenish the fund sooner than under current provisions.
  • Temporarily increases the minimum taxable wage base from the first $7,000 annually to the first $8,500 annually of employees’ wages. (This provision sunsets in 2015.)
  • Adjusts statutory trigger to generate additional funds for the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
  • Grants authority to the Governor or his designee to request advances from the federal government to replenish Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gives the state the ability to receive these advances interest-free through December 2010.

“These reforms will help keep premiums low for small businesses while protecting the unemployment compensation system in this down-turned economy,” said Representative Murzin.

For a comprehensive list of questions and answers about Extended Benefits, please visit www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/EB/EB_FAQ.html. For more information about AWI’s unemployment compensation programs, including Extended Benefits, please visit www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/EB/EBonepager.pdf

For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com.

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