Florida Unemployment Benefits
The Unemployment Insurance provided in Florida is intended to provide monetary assistance to those who lose their jobs for no fault of their own. It is also designed in such a way that it helps the applicants find other career opportunities at the earliest.
You need to know about the eligibility criteria, the application process, contact information, and other related information to successfully file for unemployment benefits.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In Florida
To receive a weekly benefit amount in Florida, you must meet some specific eligibility criteria. The criteria to be eligible includes monetary aspects, previous job-separation criteria, and various others throughout the benefit period.
You must meet the criteria set for monetary requirements to be eligible to receive monetary benefits. The monetary requirements are based on the wages earned by the applicants in the base period. The base period earnings of the applicant are not only set as the eligibility criteria, but it also helps in determining the monetary benefit amount once the applicant becomes eligible.
In Florida, to determine the benefit amount of the applicants, wages earned in the first four of the last five calendar quarters are considered. The quarters considered for monetary benefits are also known as the base year.
In the base year, the applicants must meet the following conditions to gain eligibility for monetary benefits:
- Applicants must have earned a minimum of $3400 gross wages
- The applicant must have a minimum of two-quarters of covered wages
- The total gross wage in the base year must be more than 1.5 higher than the quarter with the highest wages
If the applicants tick all the boxes above, they may be eligible for the weekly monetary benefits. If approved, an applicant may receive a maximum of $275 as a weekly benefit, based on the applicant’s wages earned in the base period.
Applicants will be allowed to draw benefits for not more than 19 weeks, and the maximum benefit amount earned will not exceed $3,300. These figures are the maximum limit that one can earn in the state of Florida. One may find out about the monetary benefit amount that the applicant is eligible to obtain by using the following method:
Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): In Florida, WBA is calculated by taking the wages from the highest-earning quarter, and dividing it by 26, or the weekly amount $275, whichever is less. For instance, if you earned $5,000 in your top quarter, your WBA will be $6,500/26, or $250. If you made $7,800 in your top quarter, your WBA will not be (7,800/26) $300, as $300 is less than the maximum limit of $275, in which case, you shall receive $275.
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): The MBA of an applicant is calculated by taking the total base wages of the applicant and dividing it by 4, or the yearly maximum limit of $3,300, whichever is less. For instance, if the total wages of an applicant is $10,000, his/her WBA will be (10,000/4) $2,500. However, if the applicant’s total wages are $14,000, his/her WBA will not be (14,000/4) $3,500, but it will be $3,300, as the maximum limit.
Monetary eligibility will not guarantee weekly benefits for the applicants. Once you prove monetary eligibility, you must establish the reason for separating from their previous establishment.
You must have left the previous organization for no fault of yours whatsoever. You will not receive unemployment benefits if you –
- Quit work without good cause.
- Are unemployed because of a labor dispute.
- Discharged for fraudulent activity.
- Fired for misconduct connected with work.
- Received or will receive wages instead of a notice of termination.
- Received or will receive Workers’ Compensation.
- You are receiving income, such as retirement pay or severance pay.
- Refuse to accept a suitable offer of work.
- Are on a voluntary leave of absence.
- Are unemployed because you were suspended.
- Are receiving unemployment benefits from another state.
- Made a false or fraudulent misrepresentation to obtain benefits.
The concerned department will connect with you and your previous employers to register the reason for the separation. If it is established that you were let go of the previous organization for no fault of yours, you will become eligible for benefits.
The purpose of Unemployment Insurance in Florida is to support citizens monetarily when they lose a job until they find another one. It is, thus, important for you to keep up the pursuit of a job during the benefit period, or you may lose the eligibility to claim benefits.
To maintain eligibility during the benefit period, youmust adhere to the following points:
- You must be ready to take up any jobs and must be on an active look-out for one.
- You must be disabled, as the state of Florida provides separate programs for the disabled.
- To display that you are looking for a job, you must contact at least 5 prospective employers every week to show that you are actively pursuing a job.
- For those coming from counties with a population of less than 75,000, you must visit at least three prospective employers weekly.
- If you fail to meet the required number of prospective employers in any given week, you must meet a representative from your local CareerSource Florida to access reemployment services.
- Earnings must be reported every week, even if you have not been paid in the given week.
How To Apply For UI Benefits In Florida?
You will need the following documents to apply for unemployment benefits in Florida:
If any of the listed criteria applies to you, you need to have the following additional information available:
- Not a U.S. Citizen: Alien Registration Number or other work authorization form.
- Military employee: A copy of your DD-214 Member 4. If you do not have a Member 4, a copy of your Member 2-7 may be used.
- Federal employee: SF-8 or SF-50.
- Union member: Union name, hall number, and phone number
Once you obtain the required documents, you may then proceed to file for unemployment benefits in Florida. In the state of Florida, unemployment benefits must be applied through the online application process.
Note – If you file any claim without reporting employers correctly, you may experience delays. If you do not list the correct information, your benefits may get delayed while the missing employment information is obtained.
Filing the claim through the online portal is mandatory in the state of Florida unless you are exempted by law for the following reasons:
- You are unable to read or write effectively in a language in which the internet application is available (English, Spanish, or Creole).
- You are physically or visually impaired which makes it impossible for you to use a computer.
- You are legally prohibited from using a computer.
You can file claims through telephone if you are exempted from filing claims online. To file a claim via phone, you may call the Florida Unemployment Insurance agency’s customer service contact center – 1-833-352-7759 – to get assistance for filing claims for monetary benefits.
Note – You need not take the help of friends or family members for interpretive purposes as the DEO offers assistance in that regard. Please note that the hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM ET.
How To File Weekly Claims
After applying for benefits, the applicants must log in to the CONNECT portal on a bi-weekly basis to request benefit payment. Those who have been granted an exemption from the online application may dial 1-833-352-7759 to find out more about the weekly claiming procedure.
UI Benefits Amount
The UI benefit amount depends on the applicant’s wages in the base period. You can use the Florida unemployment calculator to determine the approximate UI weekly benefits amount that you might receive.
Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of Florida.
Things To Know After Filing An Application
Once the application for benefits is filed, you need to make sure that you receive the monetary benefits uninterruptedly. The immediate actions that you need to take after filing for benefits are:
- Register for work on the Employ Florida website.
- Review the monetary determination. If there are any issues in the determination, appeal against the decision.
- Keep checking CONNECT home page to complete any open fact-finding and respond to important messages.
Overpayments And Frauds
In Florida, it is declared to be an overpayment is when you receive more benefits than you were eligible to receive. An overpayment is further categorized into fraud and non-fraud –
Overpayments in Florida are the occurrence of any oversight, miscalculation, or misunderstanding of benefit amount calculation. Situations such as technical errors, RAAC orders, or court decisions leading to redistribution may also lead to non-fraud overpayment.
When such scenarios of overpayments occur, the concerned department will send a notice to the claimants, mandating them to pay back the excessive amount. Post receiving the notice, the claimant must make arrangements to pay back the stipulated amount. Refer to the points below to know more on the information relating to repayment:
- Repayment can be done via money or check, with an attached payment coupon
- Repayment can also be done on the CONNECT website
- Claimants can pay the entire amount in a lump sum or can choose to pay in installments
- The claimants must pay a minimum of 10% of the total original balance monthly
In Florida, any false statements made by the claimant or concealing necessary facts will be considered fraud. Some of the examples of fraud in Florida are:
- Not reporting wages that were earned over the week intentionally
- Under-reporting the wages earned
- Lying or misrepresenting the facts on the reason for job separation
- Forging documents to prove eligibility for benefits
If a claimant is found guilty of committing fraud, he/she will be subject to the following penalties:
- The claimant will have to repay the entire excess amount received with a 15% penalty
- Will not be eligible for unemployment benefits either on a week-by-week basis or for an entire year
- May also be referred to the state attorney and be prosecuted in the court
- In the state of Florida, fraud is considered a third-degree felony, and the accused may face severe consequences
The state gives extended benefits only if the unemployment rate is too high. Visit the Department of Economic Opportunity to know more extended benefits.
Job Training Assistance
The State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity and Reemployment Assistance Program provides Job Assistance Resources to claimants to help them find employment. The department not only assists in career planning and job planning but also helps veterans, seniors, and military spouses through various programs.
To provide job assistance, the department provides the following services:
- Employ Florida: Applicants get advice on resumes, job applications, and career options through a vast pool of online resources
- Green Jobs: The state of Florida promotes job search in green-sector jobs. It prioritizes job-opening renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conversation fields
- CareerSource Centers: These centers help the applicants in the job search
- People First: This program helps the applicants to search and apply for government positions
- Teach in Florida: This program provides additional resources to those who are interested in careers in Florida’s school system