Make us your home page
Instagram

Extended benefits program for jobless Floridians starts up again

Restarting unemployment benefits is apparently not as easy as stopping them.

More than two weeks after Congress renewed benefits for long-term jobless, Florida began sending notifications and applications to those who may qualify for retroactive payments.

The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, which oversees the unemployment program, said claims for Floridians with lapsed benefits are being entered into the system incrementally. Director Cynthia Lorenzo said the agency was proceeding with caution "to ensure our computer systems are functioning properly."

"A system overload would cause undue delay," she said.

So the agency has been urging patience, suggesting would-be recipients check in only once per day to see if claims have been updated with the number of weeks of back payments they would receive.

"There is no need to check more than once per day, since each day's claims are updated overnight," spokesman Robby Cunningham said.

As of mid Monday, high numbers of calls meant wait times between 11 and 15 minutes, but there were no reports of any system overload, Cunningham said.

While some are still waiting for reinstatement, Caleb Sullivan, an unemployed attorney from Miami, considered himself among the lucky ones.

After a fruitless and frustrating week of getting no answers through AWI, he went online Monday and found out he was eligible for four weeks of retroactive payments totaling $1,200.

"This money has made a huge difference and continues to make a huge difference," said Sullivan, who is on week 46 of his job hunt. "The market has been horrific."

Monday's startup affected two groups:

• Long-term unemployed who had fallen off Extended Benefits, or EB, after the program was disrupted in June. The program lasts up to 20 weeks, giving long-term jobless a maximum of 99 weeks of coverage.

• Those whose benefits had lapsed under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, program, but may be eligible for retroactive weeks. EUC represents unemployment benefits paid after the 26 weeks of state unemployment compensation but before the Extended Benefits kick in after Week 79.

To check a claim's status, applicants can take the state's recommended route of going online to www.floridajobs.org or call toll-free 1-800-204-2418.

Recipients can begin claiming retroactive EB weeks starting today. Claims must be certified online or by mail using an application sent from the state.

About $3.6 billion in EUC benefits will be paid to about 528,000 Floridians who have or will exhaust their regular state benefits. Of that total, about $448 million represents payments retroactive to June 2, when the program temporarily halted.

Extended benefits program for jobless Floridians starts up again 08/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 9, 2010 7:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  2. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  3. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]