Soto, Members of Florida Democratic Delegation Express Concern in Governor DeSantis’ Decision to Withdraw State from Federal Unemployment Benefits

May 28, 2021
Press Release
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUC) is completely federally funded with no additional cost to the state

KISSIMMEE, FL – Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) and members of the Florida Democratic delegation sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis expressing concern over his decision to withdraw Florida from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUC) on June 26, 2021. Currently, unemployed Floridians receive $300 per week in federal support in addition to state benefits.

“Florida is already re-instituting a job search requirement so it’s cruel and unnecessary to terminate these federal benefits early,” stated Rep. Soto.

“It is a myriad of factors that have some businesses struggling for workers—competitive pay, fear of unsafe workplaces, lack of opportunities in chosen fields, and unavailability of child care to name just a few,” wrote the members. “Unemployment benefits, which in Florida are among the worst in the nation, do not substitute for the dignity and security of a guaranteed salary, and anyone receiving this benefit will still be required to demonstrate that they are actively searching for work.”

“Florida’s unemployment benefits, even with the federal assistance, is not a substitute for a good paying job. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Florida’s average weekly benefit of $228 when combined with the $300 federal benefit comes out to $528 per week—roughly the federal poverty level for a family of four and roughly half the average weekly salary in Florida. Furthermore, these benefits are completely federally funded with no additional cost to our state. Cutting off this program will cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars in federal support that would otherwise be stimulating local commerce since unemployed workers tend to spend benefits quickly on critical needs for their family like food and bills that help them survive.”

The letter was signed by all 10 members of the Florida Democratic delegation: Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09), Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21), Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14), Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22), Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24). 

Please click here for the full letter.