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Congresswoman Wilson Asks Gov. DeSantis to Fix Unemployment Benefits Program and Application Process

Miami, FL – Today, Congresswoman Wilson and 11 members of Florida's congressional delegation sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis urging immediate action to address Florida's inadequate unemployment benefits system and the flaws in its online unemployment insurance application process.

"We recognize that you submitted a request for a major disaster declaration to the President in order to grant Floridians access to disaster unemployment assistance. However, we again request that you immediately improve Florida's unemployment insurance and ease the burdensome application requirements that are preventing Floridians from accessing critical benefits at a moment of crisis," the letter states. "We continue to hear from constituents that the website where all applications must be completed continues to malfunction making it extremely difficult for individuals to even file a claim for unemployment benefits."

"Florida's unemployment insurance program has long been burdensome and difficult to navigate, and our state has historically offered one of the lowest benefit amounts in the nation," says Rep. Wilson. "These are desperate times and we are urging the governor to take a number of much-needed steps, including waiving job search requirements and waiting periods and increasing the maximum payment amounts and the length of time workers can receive unemployment benefits."

Florida businesses so far have laid off 40,438 workers, including 9,192 who have permanently lost their jobs and will continue to struggle after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity received 5,325 applications for reemployment assistance and more than 130,000 calls in the past week. Sadly, the number of people needing assistance will increase significantly as the virus continues to spread and businesses are forced to close their doors.

The House is expected to vote this week on a massive stimulus package already passed in the Senate that will add an additional $600 to weekly federal unemployment checks for individuals. To ensure that all Floridians receive both the state and federal support they deserve and desperately need Governor DeSantis must act swiftly.

The letter was signed by Representatives Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Val B. Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-5), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Darren Soto (FL-9), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).

For the full letter, click here.