Carlos Guillermo Smith-- a leading voice for Floridians struggling to obtain unemployment benefits during COVID-19
Since the very beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Carlos was a leading voice for Floridians struggling to obtain unemployment benefits from the state. His efforts helped hundreds of applicants obtain critical payments of state and federal benefits while leading statewide calls for major reforms to Florida's unemployment system early in the crisis.
Floridians praise Carlos for help with unemployment when they need him most
Florida's 'designed to fail' unemployment program needs reform
After immediately stepping in to provide support to those unable to navigate the state's broken unemployment website, Carlos began putting public pressure on Governor Ron DeSantis to expand DEO's capacity to quickly process claims to get Floridians paid their benefits.
During the first several months of the coronavirus crisis, Carlos repeatedly contacted the DeSantis administration and appeared on television, radio and in newspapers to draw attention to the frustrations of Floridians struggling to get help from DEO with their unemployment claims for weeks and sometimes months at a time.
Carlos also called for a special legislative session to send lawmakers back to Tallahassee to fix the unemployment fiasco and reform the program already known as one of the worst in the nation. Reform proposals included expanding eligibility from 12 up to 26 weeks, increasing the $275 weekly benefit to at least $400 and reducing onerous eligibility requirements meant to exclude and discourage people from applying.
Congress must act to extend federal unemployment benefits to our most vulnerable during COVID-19
Carlos has repeatedly called on Congressional leaders to extend the $600 federal unemployment benefits, which expired in July, and has called on Governor Ron DeSantis to apply for additional relief as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our economy. These critical safety net programs must be funded to help Floridians put food on the table and keep the lights on to support their families during this recession.