Unemployment claimants get wrong message for PEUC benefits, DEO working to remove it

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: via WINK News.

An apparent glitch in the system and inconsistent information is causing confusion over unemployment.

We looked at what to do Thursday if your benefits have exhausted or they’re about to.

Soon, claimants should get a link on CONNECT for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), the federal program that extends your benefits for 13 more weeks.

Some people tell us, the problem is once they do, they are seeing messages saying they can’t claim weeks again until next January.

We told Florida Department of Economic Opportunity about it Thursday, and officials say they’ll be removing that message.

Paige Landrum from DEO said in an email:

“We have verified that claimants who are seeing this message are currently enrolled in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. These individuals are still able to claim their current weeks and this message is not impacting payment to claimants. The Department is working on a solution to ensure the message is removed to eliminate any confusion.

“The Request Benefit Link, which is where they click to request their available weeks, has the correct weeks showing. So, once they click on that link, it will show the correct weeks and does not affect their benefit payments. This message shows after they claim their weeks.”

According to the DEO’s claims dashboard, 98% of eligible unemployed people have been paid since March.

That doesn’t necessarily mean paid in full, but the state says $7.3 billion have gone out.

DEO also wants to remind everyone, to get paid, you have to go on CONNECT to claim your weeks and verify you are still able and willing to work — even though work search requirements are waived until July 4.

And, if you’re returning to work, you should still get what you’re owed.

“The Department of Economic Opportunity, no matter when you go back to work, is going to pay all of the weeks that you are eligible for,” said Tiffany Vause, a DEO spokesperson. “So, even if you are a week or two behind and you get called back to work, we are still going to pay you for those benefits that you’re owed.”

We also learned the extra $600 federal unemployment payments actually end a week earlier in July than previously understood.

On the DEO’s resource guide, we found eight different times it says Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments will be available for weeks claimed March 29 to July 31. Yet, in one spot it says those payments end with the week ending July 25.

So which is it? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the $600 FPUC payments end July 25. That’s because July 31 is a Friday, and unemployment benefits in Florida are paid on a biweekly basis, with weeks ending on Saturday.

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.