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Major changes to Florida's unemployment could shake up how benefits are received

The State's Work Search waiver expired on Saturday and Gov. DeSantis will pull Florida out of the federal unemployment benefits program this week.

TAMPA, Fla — As thousands continue filing for unemployment in Florida, two programs that have actually helped people get benefits during the pandemic end this week.

"The end of May marks a huge milestone, I think, for anybody who's unemployed," advocate Vanessa Brito said.

The two major changes to Florida's unemployment could affect anyone who's still applying for benefits.

"The biggest change since Saturday is because the work search waiver has expired, that means that as of Sunday, May 30, everybody has to begin to look for work," Brito said.

That's where things get confusing because the state won't need work searches to be input into the system this week. Brito says that's why people are still wondering what changes they need to make now.

Anyone filing for help during the pandemic didn't need to show proof they were looking for a job. Starting this week, they will need to search for work from Sunday to Saturday.

"It's the first week that it's reinstated, and then they will have to input those searches moving forward," Brito said.

The State will also withdraw from the federal unemployment benefits this Friday, June 4. Anyone filing won't have to make extra changes, but $300 will be eliminated from every program type. 

"It won't happen right away. Claimants won't see an extra $300 on their benefit check starting on the first week of July. The first couple days of July, you know, you'll still get the payment because you're claiming weeks up until June 26," Brito said.

Florida's unemployment rate continues to improve but still sits just above 4 percent. While many try to get back to work, Brito worries the CONNECT system may have issues once again. 

"I'm already seeing problems on CONNECT, where people are getting kicked off and having to redo the work search over and over and over again, unable to push it through. The end of May does mark a huge shift in what's going to happen with people who are unemployed," Brito said.

RELATED: Extra $300 federal unemployment benefits will end June 26 for Floridians

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