Payments to Pandemic First Responders Program Guide

Program Overview

Under the leadership of Governor Ron Des antis, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is responsible for administering the Payments to Pandemic First Responders Program, as appropriated in Section 152 of 21-036, Laws of Florida. This program was created to provide up to $1,000 qualified disaster relief payments to Florida’s First Responders in recognition of the courage, sacrifice, and dedication those individuals showed in serving Floridians and their communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. DEO is committed to providing these payments timely and accurately to Florida’s First Responders.

Eligibility Criteria

Employers should reference the below criteria when completing the payment template and making determinations on which employees are eligible:

  • Employment Job Classes – The employee must be a first responder considered an essential frontline worker in responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic who is:
    • Employed by a state or local government (employees of private emergency medical employers are also eligible)
    • A sworn law enforcement officer or
    • Emergency medical technician, or
    • Firefighter, or
    • Paramedic, or
    • Certified Correctional Officer or
    • Certified Probation Officer or
    • Institutional Security Officer, or Chief, or Specialist, or Supervisor of the Fl Department of Children and Families, or Fl Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or
    • Fl Department of Corrections’ IG Inspector
  • Employment Period- The employee must currently be employed as of July 1, 2021 and have been continuously employed by the applicable state agency or local entity since March 1, 2020.
  • Limitations for Disciplinary Actions – The employee must not have been the subject of any disciplinary action during the period of March 1, 2020, through the date the economic payment check is distributed to the individual. The term “disciplinary action” includes:
    • Written reprimands resulting in disciplinary action
      • Please note: Minor violations would include written reprimands for minor uniform/dress code issues, tardiness, accidents resulting in minor damage to employer assets, etc. These minor reprimands should be construed in the employee’s favor when possible, but the employer may consider than an overall pattern of minor reprimands as described above prevents eligibility.
    • Suspensions
    • Dismissals
    • Involuntary or voluntary demotions that were associated with disciplinary actions

Proposed Timeline

The below table summarizes the target dates for activities. Please note, employers are being provided with 10 days to complete and return payment templates. Data on the templates will go through a verification/ validation process prior to payments being issued. The sooner templates are submitted, the better. Timeline is subject to change.

Develop Data Gathering Portal/ System/ Data Transfer MethodsJuly 9 (2 Weeks)
Present Plan to EOG/ Senate/ HouseJulv 9(Concurrent)
Activate Call Center/ Provide Payment Template to EmployersJuly 14
Payment Templates Due from EmployersJuly 24
Beqin Processinq Payment FilesAuqust 1
Mail ChecksNo later than Auqust 9
Recipients Receive ChecksAuqust 4- 15

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