Where the F*ck is My Unemployment???
Is your unemployment application STILL pending? Attorney Cathleen Scott from the law offices of Scott Wagner & Associates returns to the show with a CARES Act update regarding your unemployment benefits, and why the heck they're taking so long!
1. The enhanced unemployment was supposed to take 2-3 weeks. We have people waiting over a month and the status is still showing pending…. Did they run out of money?
"The unemployment system did NOT run out of money... it is overwhelmed with a number of claims. So [some] good information: The governor is going to allow the Department of Economic Opportunity—that's the unemployment office—to tender claims from the date of termination as opposed to the date that your claim actually gets processed, which is how it used to be.
So for those of you reading this that have been waiting 3-4 weeks for your unemployment claim to go through and are now returning to work soon, Ms. Scott recommends you keep applying for unemployment because you will still receive the money, just retroactively.
2. People are having their claims denied in large percentages, or being told their application is incomplete and then told to reapply without a reason for the denial. How are consumers supposed to navigate this and what should they do?
Ms. Scott explains that being denied Florida unemployment benefit only means you will not receive the $275 (max) a week.
"Separate from that, the unemployment office is going to process your right to the CARES Act money- that's at $600! So a first denial does not mean you're not getting the CARES money."
*CALLER QUESTION: If you have two jobs, can you still apply if you got furloughed from only one?
"You can! As long as it's a complete furlough from one, you would be eligible for unemployment, and that would be a full eligibility- up to $275, plus the $600, so $875 a week is a possibility!"
However, Ms. Scott made the distinction that if the one job you still currently have is earning you more than $275 a week, you might not be eligible for Florida unemployment but are still eligible for the CARES Act money.
3. Are these enhanced unemployment amounts less in Florida than in other states?
IT IS! While the rest of the country circles around $500 a week in unemployment benefits...
"Florida LEADS the country in having the LOWEST amount of unemployment per week and also the SHORTEST amount of time."
Florida also only offers a max of 12 weeks of unemployment, while the rest of the country offers anywhere from 12-26 weeks.
4. Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried, and the Florida governor are feuding, but both called for an investigation into Florida's unemployment. Read the letter from Commissioner Fried here. What is going on and is it affecting people's wait for their money?
History refresher! Governor Rick Scott poured in 70 million dollars to overhaul the system, re-tune it and give it a new name. Unfortunately, this overhaul created a lot of complications and barriers for those applying, making it much more difficult to access.
With these barriers in place, it put a HUGE strain when millions started applying at once due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our current governor, Ron DeSantis, removed some of those barriers with his executive order to remove some of those requirements for those applying, making the system less onerous.
Both the Florida governor and Commissioner of Agriculture agree that this investigation needs to happen ASAP.
We hope this helps YOU with your struggle to file for unemployment successfully here in Florida, and should you have any further questions we didn't cover on today's episode, please feel free to visit Ms. Scott's website at www.floridalaborlawyer.com and Scott Wagner Law!
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU WANT ANSWERED, A PROBLEM YOU WANT US TO INVESTIGATE, OR A COMPLAINT TO SHARE WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS, TELL US HERE AND WE'RE ON THE CASE!
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Until next time...