Florida Unemployment Rises to 12 Percent

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Tallahassee, FL - Just in time for the holidays, Congress gave the green light to two unemployment programs. The extensions come after a two week battle in Washington over the price tag of extending the benefits.

Without the extension, 230-thousand Floridians would have fallen off the unemployment rolls by New Years. Karen Woodall, the Interim Director for the Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, is pleased with the revival, but says more work is needed.

“This extension did not extend the 99 weeks it just allowed people who have not yet reached the 99 weeks to continue to participate in the program. So those people who have already exhausted their 99 weeks are going to be dropped off the cliff,” said Woodall.

Those who were dropped when the Emergency Compensation program expired December 4th, should begin receiving checks next week.

“For those who have lapsed, who are in the ECU program and your benefits have lapsed, we anticipate that you will be able to begin start claiming weeks as early as next Wednesday and the first payment should be going sometime next week,” said Robby Cunningham, a spokesman with the Agency for Workforce Innovation.

The 13 month extension comes just in time for Christmas, but for most the money is just enough to put food on the table; presents under the tree my have to wait one more year.

While Emergency Benefits will begin flowing again soon, it will take an executive order by the governor for the extended benefits program to begin in Florida. A spokesman for the governor’s office says such an executive order is being reviewed.

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