TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A Florida Senate Democrat has filed a proposal to boost state unemployment benefits as residents continue to struggle with the economic fallout of the COVID crisis.

Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, filed a bill (SB 466) that would increase from $275 to $400 the maximum weekly unemployment payment.

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Also, the bill would allow people to receive unemployment benefits for 26 weeks in a year.

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Last year, the maximum was 12 weeks, though it is slated to go to 19 weeks in 2021 because of a formula in state law.

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Nearly 5.14 million people filed unemployment claims from March 15 to Tuesday, as COVID-19 shut down or scaled back businesses across Florida.

About 2.17 claimants had received payments, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity website.

Bracy’s bill is filed for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 2.

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