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Governor Ron DeSantis requests major disaster declaration from President Trump

Posted at 10:36 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 22:36:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis is formally requesting that president Trump declare a Major Disaster in Florida, which will allow the state to activate D-SNAP and disaster unemployment assistance.

In Gov. DeSantis' letter to the president, he requested the inclusion of the following Individual Assistance Programs in the declaration:

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance,
  • Crisis Counseling,
  • Community Disaster Loans, and
  • the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program.

The current projections for Florida's coordination and response actions is almost $209 million, including services, materials and supplies.

The total sum does not include direct expenses or local subdivisions or supporting private entities.

In the letter, Gov. DeSantis said Florida's economy has already experienced a significant impact, highlighting the strain on hospitals, first responders, and the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The greatest task for the DEO and the state's economy, may be impending unemployment benefits.

On March 12, The state conducted a Business Damage Assessment survey for disaster-related unemployment.

Of the 2.5 million small businesses in Florida, 6,617 completed the survey.

More than half of the businesses' reported employees have been laid off due to COVID-19, meaning just over 40,000 in the state aren't getting paid.

Of those, 31,246 positions are furloughed and 9,192 are permanent.

Last week, the DEO received 5,325 applications for Reemployment Assistance. The previous week they received 4,853.

The most recent unemployment rate for Florida is January 2020, and was 2.8 percent. The state's highest unemployment rate is 11.1 percent in 2010.