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Federal UI Lapse Leaves Self Employed and Gig Workers Without Income

August 3rd, 2020 by Jake Stofan

The additional $600 federal unemployment checks Floridians had been receiving on top of their state unemployment checks expired Friday.

Even fiscally conservative groups are pleading with Congress to take action.

James Webb’s entertainment company was hit hard by the pandemic.

“My revenues are down between 70 and maybe 88 percent,” said Webb.

He applied for unemployment back in April, but because he’s self employed he doesn’t qualify for state benefits, only the $600 federal benefits.

“And I still haven’t seen a dime,” said Webb.

We asked DEO whether people like Webb who haven’t seen any federal unemployment will receive back pay, but we did not receive a response.

Even if Webb does receive back pay for what he’s owed, the future looks bleak, as the federal unemployment assistance has lapsed.

“I did my job back in March when I was told to stay at home… and I feel like that I’ve been slapped in the face for doing that,” said Webb.

Republicans want to reduce the $600 checks, fearing some aren’t going back to work because they’re making more on unemployment than they would their jobs.

But even the fiscally conservative Florida TaxWatch wants to see the federal unemployment assistance extended.

“We don’t have many choices. We either continue this and help ordinary Americans and particularly Floridians… or have more draconian structural damage to our employment system,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro.

And Webb said even if some are making more than they normally would, there are many like him who desperately need the help.

“If you’re going to make all of these rules and restrictions then you know what? You kind of have to help the people that need it,” said Webb.

Nearly eight out of every 10 dollars the state has paid out in unemployment are from the federal unemployment program.

That’s just shy of $10 billion in total.

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