TAMPA, Florida – Efforts are being made to reform the Florida unemployment system. The proposal includes increasing the weekly benefits and the length of time you can use these benefits.
If you have been frustrated by the Florida unemployment process, you are not alone.
“I was unemployed from my job, but I pretty much started working part-time in the DEO system to claim my benefits,” said Maikel Sanchez.
Sanchez is among the thousands of people ABC Action News heard from who have faced the state’s unemployment system. Sanchez says it took him weeks to receive his benefits.
“Nobody can live on $ 275 a week. There is no way, ”said Sanchez.
On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers rolled out theirs plan to propose reforms to what they call a “broken” system.
“This is really about making sure that if you are unemployed for an important reason, you are not automatically entitled to benefits,” said Anna V. Eskamani MP (D-Orlando). “If you are self-employed, you are not automatically entitled to benefits.”
The proposed bill would increase the weekly minimum state benefits from $ 32 to $ 100 and the maximum from $ 275 to $ 500. It would change the length of time someone could receive government benefits from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. The proposal would include a list of “good reasons” someone might still be eligible for benefits such as domestic violence, and would even give the department three weeks from the date on which you were eligible to be considered Submit.
“We think this is the appropriate time,” said Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg). “But the idea that we’re going to let people float indefinitely is just not fair.”
The bill also provides for an office within the department where people can raise concerns about the Department of Economic Opportunities (DEO) or the application process.
Legislators say it has been calling for a special legislative period for about seven months to deal with issues like unemployment. ABC Action News reached out to the governor’s office in August and asked why the governor had not called a special meeting.
A spokesman announced that special sessions would be called to discuss certain laws or a proposal to vote.
“We are trying today to introduce a proposed legislative package that will modernize our system, make it fairer and more efficient,” said Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami).