(PatriotWise.com)- Residents of Broward County, Florida, are not happy with their governor, and their filing a lawsuit to try to do something about it.
Over the weekend, the residents filed a lawsuit against the administration of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in circuit court in Broward County. The suit claims the state administration violated Florida law in June when they stopped giving out the $300 per week federal assistance to unemployment.
Those additional funds were approved as part of COVID-19 economic stimulus packages Congress approved. It added more money into people’s pockets, on top of whatever they were getting from their state-run unemployment program.
On June 26, DeSantis stopped those payments altogether. He was one of a number of Republican governors to do so, arguing that people were remaining on unemployment rather than seeking out a job because they were being paid more to remain at home.
The 10 plaintiffs who were named in the suit say the payments should’ve kept coming through September 6, which is the date when Congress authorized the $300 per week payments until.
The program is known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
The suit reads:
“Each of the plaintiffs have suffered economic hardship because of COVID, have had difficulty finding work, and now with the discontinuation of the FPUC face even more pressing financial hardships.”
In just the last month, Florida’s unemployed residents have lost out on a potential of at least $1,200 in extra unemployment benefits.
Benefits to unemployed people are capped at $275 each week by Florida state law. That means that those who earned the maximum state amount were receiving more than double what they would’ve been without the federal aid.
The lawsuit refers to this state law, too, saying Florida has one of the lowest maximum weekly payout amounts in the country. Because of this, they claim that they are still unable to pay their bills and rent, because they are still having trouble finding a job — and the state benefits alone aren’t enough to cover their basic cost of living.
The named defendants in the case are DeSantis and Dane Eagle, the executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The lawsuit is asking for a judge to issue an injunction that would force Florida to reinstate the $300 per week federal unemployment payments. They also are seeking backpay for that $300 per week to June 26.
The suit continues:
“By withdrawing Florida from participation in the FPUC programs, the defendants are depriving the plaintiffs and all residents of the state of Florida weekly FPUC benefits they could receive until the FPUC benefits expire if they remain eligible for those benefits.”
Eagle quickly countered that residents were taking advantage of that huge boost in unemployment assistance before the state government cut it off. He said:
“You’ve seen restaurants that have had to close earlier or open later or close certain days of the week. All over the Panhandle, I’ve seen signs that say, ‘Welcome to the new pandemic.’
“The 2021 pandemic is unemployment, not being able to hire. So, we’ve got to put an end to that.”