Florida Residents Are Suing Governor to Restore Federal Unemployment Benefits

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Ten residents of the sunshine state are suing the governor and other lawmakers, arguing they were cut off $1,200 of monthly benefits too early.

Ten residents are suing the governor of Florida and other lawmakers, arguing that they cut off pandemic unemployment benefits about two months earlier than the funding was set to expire, according to reports.

In the lawsuit, the residents assert that Gov. Ron DeSantis cut off a month's worth of additional unemployment benefits "for purely partisan and political purposes."

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity, otherwise known as DEO, put a halt to unemployment benefits on June 26 despite Congress allowing those funds to remain available until September 6, CBS News reported.

There is no mention of a specific dollar amount residents are seeking in damages.

"Given that Florida's unemployment compensation program pays one of the lowest benefits in the country, and is one of the shortest duration in the country, even the addition of the extra federal payments still barely allows unemployed Floridians to pay their basic living expenses," lawyers representing the plaintiff's argued according to court documents.

The sunshine state is now added to a long list of others across the country where residents have fought to restore their unemployment benefits.

Twenty-six states have already ended federal unemployment aid prior to the September end date. So far, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas have all been slapped with lawsuits. It's unclear for now how all the lawsuits in those states will turn out but in Indiana and Maryland, judges have sided with the jobless residents, according to reports.

In Oklahoma, a similar lawsuit was filed in state court arguing Gov. Kevin Stitt stopped unemployment benefits earlier than allowed.

Similarly, Ohio residents are arguing that the state is required to restore its maximum weekly benefits to residents in addition to state benefits, according to The Columbus Dispatch. And in Texas over 30,000 residents are claiming Gov. Greg Abbott misused his authority to stop federal benefits, the Houston Chronicle reported.

All of the plaintiffs say that their income has suffered during the pandemic. One woman says that she is on the precipice of being evicted from her home due to unemployment, CBS News reported.

A DEO spokesperson denied that any federal law was broken by ending pandemic aid early. Many lawmakers say they support ending the aid early as a way to encourage residents to seek employment.

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