Florida Unemployment Benefits
The Unemployment Insurance provided in the state of 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 the state of Florida, the applicant must meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria to be eligible includes monetary aspects, previous job-separation criteria, and various others throughout the course of the benefit period.
Applicants 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 is not only set as the eligibility criteria, but it also helps in determining the monetary benefit amount once the applicant becomes eligible.
In the state of 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 following conditions must be met by the applicants 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 wages 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 then be eligible for the weekly monetary benefits. If approved, an applicant may receive a maximum of $275 as a weekly benefit, based on his/her wages earned in the base period.
Applicants will be allowed to draw benefits for not more than 12 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 he/she 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, which is $250. In case if you made $7,800 in your top quarter, your WBA will not be (7,800/26) $300, as $300 is lesser than the maximum limit of $275, in which case, you shall receive $275.
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): 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 they prove their monetary eligibility, they must then establish the reason for separating from their previous establishment.
The applicant must have left the previous organization for no fault of his/hers whatsoever. If an applicant quits from his/her previous organization for any of the below-mentioned reasons, they would not qualify for the benefits:
- Applicant quit the job due to the lack of job satisfaction
- The applicant failed to show up to work without prior notice
- No reasonable efforts were made by the applicant to improve job performance
- The applicant was fired for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the work premises
- No reasonable effort is taken by the applicant to solve ongoing issues
- The applicant was caught stealing or damaging company property
- The applicant was not involved in any form of criminal activity in his previous activity
- The applicant was fired for acting against the organization’s interests
- A serious, life-altering injury sustained by the applicant
The concerned department will connect with the applicants and their previous employers to register the reason for separation. If it is established that the applicant was let go of the previous organization for no fault of his/hers, he/she 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 that the claimants keep up the pursuit of a job during the benefit period, or they may lose the eligibility to claim benefits.
In order to maintain eligibility during the benefit period, the applicants must adhere to the following points:
- The applicant must be ready to take up any jobs and must be on an active look-out for one
- The applicant must be disabled, as the state of Florida provides separate programs for the disabled
- In order to display that you are looking for a job, you must contact at least 5 prospective employers on a weekly basis to show that you are actively pursuing a job
- For those coming from counties with a population less than 75,000, they 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 the applicant has not been paid in the given week
How To Apply For UI Benefits In Florida?
Applicants will need the following documents to apply for unemployment benefits in Florida:
Once you obtain the required documents, you may then proceed to file for unemployment benefits in Florida. In the state of Florida, all claims for unemployment benefits must be made through the online application process.
Applicants must logon to CONNECT portal – https://connect.myflorida.com and fill in the necessary data to complete the filing process.
Filing the claim through the online portal is mandatory in the state of Florida unless they exempted by law for the following reasons:
- The applicant is illiterate or does know the required languages to log in to the CONNECT portal
- The applicant is not a resident of Florida
- The applicant is on a temporary layoff, of not more than 8 weeks from the date he/she last worked for an employer
- The applicant is participating in the approved Short-term Compensation Plan (STC)
- The applicant is physically, mentally or visually impaired to use a computer
- The applicant is legally not allowed to use a computer
Filing claims through telephone are only made possible for those who are exempted from filing claims online. Such individuals may dial Florida unemployment number 1-800-681-8102 to get assistance for filing claims for monetary benefits.
Note – If you face trouble while using Florida UI CONNECT, visit your nearest unemployment office and report the issue, or call the Florida unemployment customer service.
How To File Weekly Claims
After applying for benefits, the applicants must log in to the CONNECT portal on a biweekly basis to request for benefit payment. For those who have given an exemption from the online application may dial 1-800-681-8102 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. One can use Florida unemployment calculator to determine the approximate UI weekly benefits amount that he or she can 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, the claimant will have more responsibilities to make sure that they receive the monetary benefits uninterrupted. The immediate actions that need to be taken by the claimants after filing for benefits are:
- All claimants must register for work in the Employ Florida website
- It is recommended to review the monetary determination. If there are any issues in the determination, claimants can appeal against the decision
- Claimants are advised to constantly review CONNECT home page to complete any open fact-finding and respond to important messages
Overpayments and Frauds
If the claimants receive benefits more than the amount that was supposed to receive either knowingly or unknowingly will lead to an overpayment of benefits. Intentionally receiving benefit amount that does not belong to the claimant will lead to it being deemed 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 overpayment 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 made via money or check, with an attached payment coupon
- Repayment can also be made 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 on a monthly basis
In Florida, any false statements made by the claimant or concealing important facts will be considered as fraud. Some of the examples of fraud in Florida are:
- Not reporting wages that were earned over the course of 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 federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is not available in the state of Florida, as it has become defunct as of Dec 28, 2013.
Job Training Assistance
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.
In order 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