The fight to get federal payments back continues despite expiration
TALLASSEE, FL – Despite the recent loss in court, the fight is far from over.
A group of unemployed workers in Florida said Tuesday that they will continue to seek delayed salaries from the now-defunct federal booster program through a new legal avenue.
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program officially expired Monday. Claimants in participating regions were offered an additional $300 per week in addition to their state benefits.
Florida residents have been unable to access since late June after Governor Ron DeSantis decided to withdraw from the program early to push unemployed workers into the workforce.
The plaintiffs first announced that they would challenge the legality of the lawsuit in late July.
Circuit Judge J. Lynn Smith to reject Last week’s interim injunction that DeSantis was within the withdrawal rights. The judge also questioned how officials would pay the claimants retroactively, given that the program was about to expire.
It was frustrating to Vanessa Brito, who helped organize the lawsuit.
The Miami-based community organization helped raise nearly $30,000 to support future legal challenges, which it said were coming.
Lawyers plan to file a motion this week asking the judge to reconsider his ruling. If that doesn’t work – an appeal in district court will follow afterwards.
“We’ll do a reconsideration,” Brito said. “We’ll see what happens there and then from there, you know, we’ll give them a chance in the appellate court. I want to see — I want to see how many times they can really turn their backs on people.”
Meanwhile, state officials praised Smith’s ruling.
in a last statement, Deputy Director of Communications Andrew G. Nixon described the governor as a “champion for fluoridation workers and the business community in Florida.”
“The court’s ruling was issued [Aug. 30] Confirms that Florida’s successful return to work initiative and subsequent withdrawal from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program was the right decision legally and demonstrated to increase employment and workforce participation,” Nixon said. Because of Governor DeSantis’ leadership, economic facts have demonstrated that the state continues to outperform the rest of the nation in economic recovery.”
Critics question whether Florida actually benefited from the early withdrawal, suggesting that the evidence is murky. Unemployment in the state remains below the national average and Florida has seen fifteen consecutive months of job growth.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs were expected to file a request for reconsideration either Tuesday or Wednesday.