JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Many claimants report new problems with their unemployment claims after the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity updated its system to implement federal unemployment programs as a result of the American Rescue Plan.
The American Rescue Plan extended unemployment benefit programs PUA and PEUC through Sep. 4.
Many unemployed Floridians are coming up on their “benefit year end” which would normally cut off benefits.
After the Department updated the system over the weekend, many claimants had their Benefit Year End date updated to Sep. 4.
These Floridians believed once they exhausted their claims, it would be replenished through Sep. 4. Instead, many were switched to a program they don’t qualify for or it reflected their claim expired in 2020.
“They’re angry, and with reason,” said unemployment expert Vanessa Brito. “This should have never happened.”
FCN asked DEO why this is happening and what claimants should do. The Department said it is looking into the issue.
Brito has been studying the multitude of claimants hitting this roadblock.
Brito found some people can claim without issues, but at the moment others cannot. She found the following:
Who Can Exhaust:
- PEUC claimant who has a previous PUA claim currently on "Hold" and shows Benefit Year End date of 9/4/21.
- PEUC claimant who has not previously applied for PUA, but is eligible—Meaning, you lost your job due to COVID19.
Who Shouldn't Exhaust Benefits (yet):
- If you are on PEUC and do not qualify for PUA, don't exhaust your balance but do not let your weeks expire.
- PUA claimants do not exhaust your balance regardless of Benefit Year End changes
“It’s advisable, don’t exhaust so you don’t encounter all of these changes to your program,” Brito said.
Leaving some balance in your CONNECT account will give the system some time to fix the new glitches.
“Then once we know for sure and receive confirmation that the triggers are in place, then at that point exhaust,” Brito said.