ACROSS FLORIDA — With the $600-a-week lifeline of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation set to expire for American workers July 31, leaving millions unable to afford basic necessities, newly unemployed workers and elected leaders will discuss the expiration of the payments and the importance of extending them to support families and boost the economy.
The discussion will take place during a Zoom conference Tuesday, July 21 at 1 p.m. The town hall event is sponsored by Unemployed Action, Unite Here, 2kStrong and Jobs with Justice.
Among the speakers will be
Rep. Anna Eskamani, District 47
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, District 49
Florida State Sen. Victor Torres,
Florida State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez
Jonathan Alingu, co-director of Florida Jobs with Justice
The CARES Act, passed by Congress in March, extended unemployment insurance to previously ineligible people, including self-employed business operators, independent contractors and people with caregiving responsibilities impacted by coronavirus-related closures.
The CARES Act also added a $600 weekly supplemental benefit, which will expire July 31 unless Congress acts.
Economists estimate extending these benefits for a year would generate $27.6 billion in income for Floridians and save 244,921 jobs. Failure to extend UI benefits would widen the state’s racial wealth gap: Black and brown workers are more likely than white workers to face unemployment and have fewer savings.
At the town hall, unemployed workers will share their experiences accessing the unemployment system. Jobless people who are excluded from, denied or still waiting for unemployment benefits will share the sacrifices and strategies they have used to survive without income. Unemployed workers who are relying on the $600 weekly supplement will describe how the additional funds impacted their lives and what a future without this additional money during a pandemic may look like.
Organizers of the town hall have invited the Florida congressional delegation to attend the event to state their position on extending federal unemployment benefits, expanding eligibility and allocating funds to struggling state unemployment agencies to expedite claims processing.