Florida, Which Has One of the Lowest Unemployment Payouts in U.S., to End $300 Additional Benefit

Florida, which has one of the lowest unemployment payouts in the country, is the latest state to ditch the additional $300 weekly federal boost.

The Sunshine State's Department of Economic Opportunity announced Monday that the supplemental, federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation program will expire on June 26.

"Thanks to Governor [Ron] DeSantis' leadership, Florida's economy has bounced back tremendously with over 460,000 jobs available throughout our state and the strongest economic conditions in the nation," Dane Eagle, the agency's secretary, said in a statement.

"Florida's employers are also seeing employment growth, as more Floridians, including some who completely left the workforce, are now eagerly reentering the workforce. Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce."

Florida joins at least 22 other Republican-led states in ending the $300-per-week benefit, according to CNN. Most of them cited worker shortages as a motivating factor for an early cut to the benefit, which was renewed until September under President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

But without it, Florida has one of the lowest unemployment payouts in the country. Forbes Advisor ranked the state last with an average weekly benefit of $236. The weekly amount tops out at $275, one of the lowest maximum amounts in the nation.

Plus, Florida also provides only 12 weeks of state unemployment benefits—less than half the amount of time most other states allow.

Florida's unemployment rate rose slightly from 4.7 in March to 4.8 percent in April. An estimated 487,000 Floridians were reported as jobless out of a workforce of 10.24 million.

Florida Latest to End $300 Unemployment Benefit
Florida, which has one of the lowest unemployment payouts in the country, is the latest state to ditch the additional $300 weekly federal boost. Above, unemployment forms at a drive-thru collection point outside John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, Florida, on April 8, 2020. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

While the state is cutting the additional $300 benefit, residents will still be able to take advantage of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).

PEUC allows those who have reached their state's maximum claim weeks for unemployment compensation to be provided 11 additional weeks of pay. PUA is a program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors and part-time workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both programs are set to expire on September 6.

DeSantis addressed the elimination of the $300 weekly benefit during a press conference Monday.

"The real reason is simple: we got almost half a million job openings in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "We're proud of the fact that we've got a lot of economic momentum and so now we're transitioning from relief in the midst of a crisis to now having the more traditional reemployment outlook."

Newsweek reached out to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity for additional comment but didn't receive a response before publication.