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Extended Unemployment Benefits Flowing

July 6th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

30 thousand unemployed Floridians will get a welcome surprise in their mailboxes this week. Checks for up to 3 hundred dollars a week for as many 20 weeks go in the mail to unemployed who have exhausted all of their benefits. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the extended benefits arent automatic, and recipients must apply.

The extended unemployment benefits are retroactive to February 22nd. For those who have already applied, checks totaling as much as 51 hundred dollars will be in the mail this week. As many as a quarter-million Floridians could be eligible.

Jessie Schrimsher is one of them. He says navigating the system is complicated.

Its kinda like, doing your income tax, Schrimsher said. Kinda the same thing. Youve got to be an attorney almost.

In addition to being complicated, both state unemployment hotlines are swamped. Especially at the beginning of the week.

The state says if you cant get through on the phone, apply online. And unlike past extensions, doing nothing will get you nothing.

Applications can be found at FloridaJobs.org.

The up to 250 thousand people who are eligible for the benefits are also going to be hearing from the state.

Weve had two previous unemployment extensions where those people were taken into the system automatically, Cynthia Lorenzo, director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation said. This one is different in that applications need to be submitted. We have been doing a tremendous amount of outreach.

An estimated 418 million dollars in extended benefits are expected to be paid out to Floridians by the end of the year.

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