As you are surely aware, the Federal Government passed the CARES Act which is intended to provide relief for Americans as they are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. While the Federal Government funds the Act and provides guidance on how to utilize the funds, it is up to individual states to decide how to allocate the money. Florida’s portion of the funding which resulted from the act is $4.1 billion. All eligible individual Americans received $1200 (depending on income), married couples received $2400, and additional funds were allocated to parents with children. The cash distribution was only one part of the CARES Act.
Florida’s unemployment benefit
In the state of Florida, the maximum unemployment benefit is $275 per week for up to 25 weeks. As part of the CARES Act, The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) allows for an additional $600 per week for individuals receiving ANY amount of unemployment benefits. This benefit is available from March 29, 2020, to July 31, 2020.
What if you are self-employed?
In the state of Florida, self-employed, gig, or independent contractors can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This gives those individuals access to $275 per week plus the $600 per week available under the FPUC. If you applied for reemployment assistance before April 4, 2020, you will need to reapply at floridajobs.org. If you applied for reemployment assistance after April 4, 2020, you do not need to do anything. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity will reach out to you with further guidance.
What if you have already used up unemployment benefits for the year?
Unfortunately, some Floridians were laid off or fired before the pandemic took hold. Many of those individuals have already exhausted their eligibility for unemployment benefits. Well, one of the provisions of the CARES Act is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This could provide an additional 13 weeks of Reemployment Assistance. This would give those individuals access to up to $275 per week plus the $600 per week benefit afforded by the FPUC.
Scenarios not described above
In addition to the possible scenarios already described, the following events could make you eligible for pandemic related unemployment benefits:
- You are unable to reach your workplace because of COVID-19 related quarantine;
- You are the primary caregiver for your kids and they are stuck at home because of COVID-19 related quarantine;
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- You have documentation from a doctor that states that you should stay home because of concerns related to COVID-19;
- You have become the head of household because the previous head of household died from COVID-19;
- You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19;
- You are providing for a person that has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
We are all in this together. Millions of Americans are struggling financially as a direct result of the pandemic. If you or a loved one is falling behind on payments, you need the assistance of a licensed attorney in Florida. Dsouza and Strachan Law Group has the attorneys you need to get your financial future back on track. Contact Dsouza and Strachan today for a free consultation.