Unemployment Benefits Extended

There’s good news tonight for the state’s jobless. The President signed legislation to keep unemployment checks flowing to people at risk of running out or who have already exhausted their benefits. Eligible jobseekers need to know to make sure they’re ready to claim the extra cash.

Unemployment Office

More than a million Floridians are looking for work and struggling to make ends meet.

Every day, thousands dial the state’s unemployment call center looking for money at the end of the line.

“A lot of them are folks who have been unemployed for upwards of two years, so they’re just trying to see if there’s anything else available,” said Rori Dunbar and Employment Security Representative with the Agency for Workforce Innovation.

62,000 Floridians have already exhausted their benefits, but now there is good news for some of those folks who many have already spent their last dollar.

President Barack Obama signed legislation extending unemployment pay by 20 weeks.

The extension is for people who have already run out of benefits or are close to running out, although not everyone in those groups will qualify.

“For those who we can identify that will potentially qualify, we will be sending them letters in the mail,” said AWI Spokesman Robby Cunningham.

The letters will be sent in mid-November.

For eligible candidates already receiving benefits, the extension will be seamless. Jobseekers whose benefits have already run out will have to jump through more hoops.

“They’ll need all their personal information, their social security card, social security number, all the information about their past employers, the names and addresses and the dates they worked for certain employers,” said Cunningham.

An estimated 250,000 Floridians will qualify for the extension. The money should begin flowing by mid-December.

The call center will be open Saturday and Sunday to take questions. The hotline number is 800-204-2418.

Jobseekers are being asked to visit the Agency for Workforce Innovation’s webpage before calling to see if the answer to their question is posted online.

The web address is www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/hottopics.html.

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