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Unemployed Florida workers fearful CARES Act programs will expire at year's end

500,000 Florida workers could lose unemployment benefits
Posted at 2:53 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 19:08:50-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Nearly 500,000 Florida residents could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the month, according to a recent report by the Century Foundation.

A Boca Raton resident named Stephanie, who did not wish to provide her last name, said she wouldn’t have any income next year without any new federal support.

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She has been living off unemployment since May.

Her job with the cruise lines is currently on hold, and she's terrified her source of income will stop on Dec. 26.

"Who is going to hire me at any job? My job is gone," Stephanie said.

The Century Foundation reports up to 12 million workers rely on unemployment programs, including nearly 500,000 in Florida. These workers could lose their benefits when two main CARES Act programs expire.

"This is like Santa Claus quit and is nowhere to be found," Stephanie said.

State Rep. Emily Slosberg
State Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, says unless Congress passes a new CARES Act, there will not be additional funding for unemployed workers.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment programs have helped millions of people since March.

Without a new CARES Act from Congress, those programs will expire and leave people like Stephanie with no income.

"What are we going to do with thousands of people getting no income?" Stephanie asked.

State Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, said despite Florida's lowering unemployment rate, there are still 659,000 unemployed workers.

"I get a lot of desperate emails and calls from constituents that are very worried come the end of December," Slosberg said. "There is a lot of pressure on Congress to act."

She said Florida's Lost Wages Assistance program also expires at the end of the month.

Slosberg said unless Congress passes a new CARES Act, there would not be any additional unemployment funding.

"It really would take a special session," Slosberg said.