Sunday, April 21, 2013

Unemployment Benefit Cuts Coming To Florida

MIAMI, Florida -- More cuts in unemployment benefits are coming to Florida as a result of automatic spending cuts by the federal government.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) says that all payments of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), which are federally-funded long-term unemployment benefits after a person's state benefits are exhausted, will be reduced.  Once Florida receives the official information from the U.S. Department of Labor,  DEO says the computer systems that process Florida unemployment compensations claims will be updated to reflect the reduction.

According to the DEO website, until official information is available and systems are updated, claims representatives will not be able to provide claimants with information regarding changes to their individual EUC claim benefits.  DEO added that these changes only affect claimants collecting EUC benefits and do not affect other claims, such as regular Florida state unemployment benefits. Claimants will be notified if there are changes affecting their EUC entitlement.

Florida, which once had a maximum period of 26 weeks of unemployment compensation, has steadily reduced the maximum number of weeks allowed to 19.  By Florida Statute, the maximum number of weeks of unemployment benefits is calculated by the state's third quarter unemployment rate.  If Florida's unemployment rate holds at 7.5% through the year, the number of weeks could later be reduced to 17.

Because the number of weeks of federal unemployment benefits is linked to the number of weeks provided at the state level, the National Employment Law Project, a unemployment rights advocacy organization, calculates that Florida's unemployed lose up to 10 weeks of federal unemployment benefits as a result of Florida's reduction of state benefits from 26 to 19 weeks.