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Federal unemployment ending in one month: Unemployed Floridians can get more help

CareerSource Florida has grants and scholarships, and there are still programs for things like rent and utility assistance.

TAMPA, Fla — In one month, the $300 weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government will come to a halt here in Florida.

The state's unemployment will continue, but at most, those checks max out at $275 a week, among the lowest in the nation. 

But there is still help that Floridians can find.

"So you know, people think CARES Act was only unemployment and the stimulus package, but it was and it does include a lot of rental assistance, and utility assistance," said Vanessa Brito, an unemployment activist. "A lot of folks don't know that there is a credit for internet, credit for telephone bills, things like that, especially if you're behind."

You can find help from Our Florida, and when it comes to support for your internet bill there is help from the Federal Communications Commission, and rental help from the U.S. Department of Treasury, among other resources.

There are also ways to get out of unemployment completely. Free resources for "upskilling" that could get you a new job. 

"CareerSource offers scholarships and grants for those programs so that it doesn't have to be out of pocket," said Brito. "It does cover your work search requirement, and you can continue to get benefits while you're trying to upskill throughout the process of career transition."

That is exactly what Nicole Betman did.

The mom had previously been working as a bartender and manager before the pandemic hit. Suddenly unemployed, Betman knew she wanted to change things up. 

She started searching online for a change, and came across an interesting post in a Facebook group, "It was like briefly mentioned that there were scholarships on CareerSource. And I'm like, 'let's check every avenue. I mean, what do I have to lose, I'm not working, I have nothing but time.'"

Betman got a scholarship. She is almost done with her associate's in graphic design technology. And the entire thing is covered financially.

"To be brutally honest, we all knew that unemployment eventually was going to end they weren't going to pay us to sit home forever," said Betman. "Let's go back into this with the brighter future and higher wages being paid and not be uncomfortable."

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