Florida State Legislators On Reopening the Economy, Assistance for Older Adults, & More

Representative Ben Diamond: The federal government began sending out stimulus checks in the middle of April, but that not all of them have gone out yet.

Representative Jennifer Webb: If you have internet, the website where you can check on it is: irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.They update it once a day, so you can check back every day. There’s also a tool on the IRS site for figuring out if you have to file any additional form because you received SSDI.

Florida Representative Ben Diamond (Photo: Florida House of Representatives)

Representative Ben Diamond: The unemployment system has been a total disaster and it’s not just because we’ve had a number of people trying to access the system. In my opinion, it was designed to make it very difficult for Floridians to access it. And then once it’s accessed, it’s very difficult for Floridians to establish that they’re eligible trouble for benefits. And it’s a real black eye on this state. The State Auditor General audited this agency three times and found that this thing was not built properly. And the agency never really addressed them. So when we get back to Tallahassee — which I think needs to be as soon as possible — all this needs to be investigated, looked into, and fixed.

Florida Representative Jennifer Webb (Photo: Florida House of Representatives)

Representative Jennifer Webb: Your observations are very astute and right on the money. The reason why we were flat flattening the curve was to reduce the burden on our healthcare system and prevent the spread of this disease. So just because the economy is opening back off doesn’t mean that the virus has disappeared; it means that we have beds and ventilators available in our ICU and doctors available to treat people. And it’s quite alright to limit your exposure to people who are not taking precautions that are good for your health.

Floridians have to understand that they and their families are still at risk. —Representative Ben Diamond

Representative Ben Diamond: Floridians have to understand that they and their families are still at risk. The governor of Florida has decided that we can somewhat relax the executive order that he initially put in place that said everybody needs to be home unless they’re an essential worker. But in terms of practical advice for you and your family, I will tell you that I think that you need to do exactly what Dr. Fauci and the CDC are telling us: only go out for an essential purpose. You need to wear a mask when you’re out. You need to maintain a safe, you know, six feet or more distance from other people.

Representative Jennifer Webb: If you fit the CDC high-risk criteria or if you’re an older adult, the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas will connect you to services that pick up your medications, grocery shop for you, deliver meals to your home. Their number is 1–800–963–5337.

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