Unemployed Floridians sue state to reinstate federal jobless benefits

Governor Ron DeSantis is facing legal action after ending federal unemployment benefits last month. A group of jobless Floridians is now suing the state to have the $300 per week in benefits reinstated. 

The 15-page lawsuit demands the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the governor reinstate federal unemployment benefits.

"There's a lot of upset people that are really in need of this money and have nowhere to turn," attorney Scott Behren said.

The lawsuit, filed in Broward County Circuit Court Sunday, argues the DeSantis administration violated state law last month when it stopped providing $300 a week in federal unemployment assistance. The payments approved by Congress were authorized to continue until September 6. 

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"We want a judge to tell the governor that he illegally violated the law when he cut off these benefits early and they need to be re-instated," Behren said.

The suit argues the governor ended the benefits on June 26 for "purely partisan and political purposes." Florida is now one of six other states, including Texas and Ohio, where residents have filed similar lawsuits. 

So far, in two of the states, Indiana and Maryland, judges have sided with the unemployed plaintiffs and reinstated the federal benefits.

In Florida's lawsuit, one plaintiff who did accounting for small businesses applied to McDonald's but was told she was "overqualified and they were worried that they would train her and she would leave when she found something better."

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In May, the DEO announced they were ending federal unemployment benefits as a way to get people back to work. 

FOX 13 reached out to the governor's office Monday for comment on the lawsuit and is still waiting to hear back as of Monday night.

"It's not the governor's decision based on the Florida statute he's required to abide by," Behren said.

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The plaintiffs are asking the state to reinstate the federal unemployment benefits immediately. They also want retroactive pay for the weeks they went without the $300 per week payments.