Florida to Be the Next State Sued for Pulling Boosted Unemployment

by Maurie Backman | Published on July 15, 2021

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A diverse group of individuals awaiting job interviews.

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Jobless workers are fighting back against states that are ending boosted unemployment. And they're winning.

When the American Rescue Plan -- the massive relief bill that put $1,400 stimulus checks into people's bank accounts -- was signed into law in March, the economy was in a worse state than it's in today. As such, one provision that bill included was a $300 weekly boost to unemployment benefits through the beginning of September.

Over the past couple of months, however, 26 states have sought to pull the plug on that boost ahead of schedule. But jobless workers have fought back, suing some of their respective states to reinstate those benefits and let them run their course through Labor Day.

So far, such lawsuits have popped up in the following states:

  • Maryland
  • Indiana
  • Texas
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma

And they're getting results. This week, a judge ordered boosted jobless benefits to be reinstated in Maryland through early September. They were originally cut off on July 3. Lawyers in Indiana were also successful in getting boosted benefits restored.

Now, Florida is the latest state to face a lawsuit calling for the reinstatement of benefits. And if successful, it could make for a much less stressful financial situation for a lot of people.

Fighting back in Florida

As of May of 2021, there were over 500,000 unemployed people in Florida. The state made the decision to end the $300 federal weekly boost to unemployment on June 26, but lawyers in the state are now preparing to file a lawsuit to get that boost reinstated.

The argument is that there's still a large number of people in the state who remain jobless, and that pulling boosted benefits before the school year begins is particularly damaging to parents who have been out of a job due to childcare constraints more so than anything else.

Of course, the reason Florida and 25 other states pulled the plug on boosted unemployment ahead of schedule is that officials were convinced that extra money was keeping people from applying for jobs. Many states have been experiencing labor shortages, and the hope was that ending boosted benefits early would incentivize more people to get back to work.

But there are other issues that could be keeping people from re-entering the labor force. In addition to childcare concerns, health fears may be prompting some to stay on unemployment as long as possible, especially since mask mandates have largely been lifted and not everyone is able to get a coronavirus vaccine right away.

At this point, the $300 weekly unemployment boost is set to expire on Labor Day. So people without jobs will only be privy to that money for so many more weeks. But if more states manage to get that boost reinstated, it could help a lot of people who might otherwise struggle with their personal finances in the near term. This especially applies to parents, who may need just a few more weeks of help until the 2021-2022 academic year kicks off, schools reopen, and children have a place to go during the day that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

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