On Thursday, April 22, the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill (SB 1906) that will increase the benefits for unemployed Floridians. From a maximum weekly payment of $275 to $375, the bill also increases the maximum amount of weeks a recipient can receive these benefits from 12 weeks to 14 weeks and is calculated monthly rather than annually. The maximum amount of benefits a recipient receives in a benefit year jumps from $6,325 to $9,375.
The bill allows for applicants to use a “base period” that is different from the one that the individual is in, at the time of applying. Instead of the required base period that includes the wages made in the last year up until the time of the application, an applicant can now choose the most recent base period that is prior to the one that he or she is in.
The newly passed bill also removes the requirement of recipients needing to report a telephone number of potential employers to One-Stop Career Center and Employ Florida as well as decreases the amount of prospective employers reported weekly by recipients from 5 to 3 (3 to 2 for individuals in smaller counties). The bill also amends the definition of ‘address’ which now means recipients can report a physical address, a website, or email address when reporting weekly potential employers to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
The passing of this bill by the Florida Senate comes after much resistance from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida House of Representatives on the issue of reemployment assistance that includes the benefits mentioned above.
According to the Florida Senate website, the Revenue Estimating Conference has not yet estimated the impact of the bill and that the bill will take effect July 1st, 2021.
– – –
Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]