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Florida Unemployment Eligibility

The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation is liable for managing the state’s unemployment insurance fund. As per the Florida Unemployment Compensation Law, an applicant’s eligibility depends on his work earnings history, his capability to keep seeking available work while collecting benefits and his reason for joblessness. Suitable claimants must file biweekly claims to keep on collecting unemployment benefits.

Florida Unemployment Eligibility Calculator

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Florida Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

In Florida, unemployment benefits are available to claimants who are unemployed or partially unemployed through no fault of their own. That means to qualify, you must not have been fired for gross negligence or willful malfeasance, such as major violations of company code or policy. Claimants must also have worked in Florida within the past 12 months (occasionally longer, depending on the claim). And they must also have earned sufficient wages during the base period.

The base period in Florida is the first four full calendar quarters of the last five full calendar quarters before the unemployment claim was filed. And within that base period, the claimant seeking reemployment assistance benefits (as they are called in Florida) must have earned at least $3,400 in gross wages; that is a primary eligibility requirement according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

To put things in perspective, that’s actually just $65 each week. Also note that a claimant must have worked at least two of the four quarters, and that their total base period wages must be 1.5 times that of their highest earning quarter. Remember, Florida reemployment assistance is for claimants who were temporarily displaced in the workforce…that is to say, who were working before. The Social Security Administration has other types of state benefits and there are also federal benefits for claimants whose work history does allow them to collect RA benefits.

Also, note that the amount of money made in your base period will determine your weekly benefit amount. See a Florida unemployment calculator to learn what your WBA would be.

Monetary Eligibility

To establish a monetarily eligible reemployment assistance claim, a person must have worked and earned wages during a specified period of time called the base period (first four quarters of the previous five completed quarters prior to filing a claim).

To be eligible monetarily, a person must:

  • Have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters in the base period;
  • Have total base period wages of at least 1-1/2 times the wages in the quarter having the highest earnings;
  • Have at least $3,400 total wages in the base period;
  • Must have worked in Florida during the past 12 to 18 months.

This calculation is automatically done at the time you file your claim.

Non-Monetary Eligibility

Once your claim is determined to be monetarily eligible and you have claimed weeks, your non-monetary eligibility must be determined before any benefits will be paid to you.

Below is a general description of the issues which can affect your claim:

  1. You were discharged (fired), you quit, or you are on a suspension or leave of absence from your last employer or other recent employers.
  2. You are a school employee and you are not working because you are between terms or on a vacation or holiday.
  3. You are unable or unavailable to work or to accept work or you are not looking for work or you have failed to report five contacts with prospective employers for work during a claim week..
  4. You are currently attending school or training.
  5. You are currently self-employed.
  6. You are obtaining payments of some kind from a recent employer.
  7. You refused a suitable job offer or you refused a referral from the One-Stop Career Center to a suitable job.
  8. You failed to participate in Reemployment Services scheduled at the One-Stop Career Center.
  9. You failed to complete the initial skills review on the Internet.

In order to collect unemployment benefits in the Sunshine State, you will need to meet the unemployment eligibility requirements. These requirements pertain to the weeks you collect unemployment insurance, and also to your base period earnings before you file your initial claim.

Ongoing Eligibility Requirements

To maintain ongoing eligibility for unemployment benefits, the state of Florida has several requirements. The first requirement is that you must be able and available to work. Transportation and childcare are not valid excuses for avoiding this requirement unless a certain job is outside of reasonable commuting or someone in your family is sick.

Another requirement is that claimants register on the Employ Florida website, which is itself a resource for locating new employment. Once registered, they will be able to access the CONNECT portal where they can make their biweekly claim for Florida unemployment. In fact, making this biweekly claim and reporting all wages earned (if any) is another ongoing requirement. While filing the weekly claim, claimants will also need to input details about their ongoing work search.

The Florida work search is another requirement to collect benefits. Generally speaking, claimants must make 5 contacts per week, which can include visiting a Career Center, applying online, attending a job fair, going to an interview, or handing in a paper application. When collecting your weekly benefits, as part of your biweekly filing, you will be required to input details about the nature of your 10 contacts (5 per week). If you live in a county with less than 75,000 people, you are only required to complete 3 work searches per week.

Possible Reasons for Unemployment Ineligibility

There are some reasons why claimants might be ineligible for benefits. If you left your job with no good cause (for instance, because you just didn’t like it), or were fired for gross negligence or willful misconduct (such as fighting with another employee or a customer), you can be ineligible.

If you have already been collecting benefits but chose to not accept a suitable replacement job paying at least 90% of your previous salary (and even less as they continue to collect unemployment), you can be denied future benefits. If you are on a voluntary leave of absence or paid leave, you cannot also collect unemployment benefits.

Claimants cannot collect unemployment benefits from multiple states at the same time. And if you were not initially eligible to collect unemployment (because of insufficient earnings in their base period) you are also not able to collect unemployment.

However, note that an employee put on temporary leave with a promise to resume employment is eligible for collecting unemployment during their temporary layoff. At the same time, unlike other states, Florida residents who leave their workplace as part of a labor dispute may not qualify for collecting unemployment.

If you do not keep up with your work search requirements, or you begin a new job and earn more than $275 that week, you may also lose benefits (in fact, if you start a new job, it is time to stop collecting benefits). Lastly, if your unemployment insurance runs out, there is no Florida unemployment extension and you should contact the Department of Economic Opportunity to discuss reemployment programs. About $3,300 is the maximum amount of benefits one can collect over the course of 12 weeks.

Tips for Maintaining Unemployment Eligibility

Here are some tips for maintaining RA benefits to ensure your process goes smoothly.

  • File your unemployment assistance claim biweekly
  • Apply for jobs through Employ Florida
  • Be honest in accordance with Florida law

While collecting unemployment insurance benefits, you must report all income earned, if any. When you apply for collecting benefits through Florida’s unemployment insurance program, you must report your base period earnings honestly to avoid inflating your weekly unemployment compensation benefits.

Florida unemployment insurance usually lasts around 12 weeks (it may sometimes increase based on the economy) and there are no extended benefits. If you feel that your RA benefits are not what they should be according to your base period wages, you will want to contact the unemployment office with a Florida unemployment appeal.

Eligibility Questions

I was fired from my last job. Will I be considered eligible?

In case you are fired for a reason like you were not good at the job or you did not have the skills to carry out the job, you must be able to receive benefits. But in Florida, employees who are fired for misconduct related to work may not be eligible for jobless benefits. Misconduct is defined as an intentional or controllable act (or failure to act) that shows a planned disregard of the employer’s interests. An employee who is fired for the following reasons will usually meet the criteria for benefits.

  • carelessness,
  • performance problems,
  • inefficiency or
  • good faith errors in judgement.

My employer is laying me off due to monetary crisis. Can I qualify for Florida Reemployment Assistance?

Usually, in Florida you have to have to have lost your job through no mistake of your own so as to collect unemployment. When you get laid off for financial reasons, it is not your fault. In nearly all cases, this means that if you get out of work, you are qualified to receive unemployment benefits. If you get laid-off from your job, you must instantly apply for unemployment benefits. Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired. Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you did something incorrect. Getting laid-off means that the company you worked for did not have enough work for you to do, and could no longer afford to pay you for your job.

Will quitting a job affect my eligibility?

In case you quit your job, you won’t be entitled for unemployment unless you had a good reason for doing so related to your work or a personal illness or disability. In case you left your job because your spouse was transferred by the military, you will remain entitled for benefits. And if you left a temporary job since you were recalled by your permanent employing unit within 6 months after termination, you will qualify for benefits. Following causes may also be accepted by the law :

  • Cause attributable to the employer
  • Accept other work,
  • Relocate,
  • Care for a family member,
  • Distance to work,
  • Unhappy with the job

Want to know about how much you will receive? —–> Calculate your benefits here

  1. I was a self-employed truck driver for 15 years in which I quit because I could no longer be away from my family all the time (I have an 8-year old daughter). It was literally ruining my marriage and family. I moved to Florida to start another career and am having difficulty finding employment. I have many job applications out. Will I qualify for unemployment? Thank you.

  2. I received an offer from my former employer in PA in which I am planning on excepting and my husband has worked here in Fl since 11-2015. Prior to that he has worked in PA for the same company. He will have worked for them for 3 years. Which state should he file with PA or FL? If it is Florida would this be considered a qualifying event such as follow your spouse?

    • If he voluntarily quit his job to relocate, he will not qualify.

      Otherwise, please file from the state where the last employment was based.

  3. I resigned from a job that I enjoyed and worked for 5 years,however a new supervisor was hired last year and was constantly writing me up for petty violations while ignoring others including his own.I could not take this anymore and told him so and he said leave if you want to,which I did. Am I eligibile for benefits.

    • If you resigned voluntarily, you will not be eligible.

      If resigned due to hostile work environment, please apply and be ready with evidence supporting your decision if your employer disputes.

  4. I was the victim in a rear end car accident in May 2015. The accident broke my back and has left me unable to work. I had surgery in June 2105 and am going to have to have another one next month. I was employed at the time of the accident. I have a disability claim pending. Am I eligible for any type of unemployment benefits?

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      If the injury was work related, please explore the Workers Comp scheme for benefits.

  5. I have two questions:
    1. How does severance pay and/or vacation pay affect my unemployment benefits?
    2. I plan on doing some substitute teaching while looking for a new job. I will work sporadically. How long after I apply for unemployment compensation am I eligible for benefits.

    • Answers to your questions as below.

      1) You can only make a UI claim after the expiry of the severance pay package.
      2) If you remain jobless full time, you can claim and receive immediately.

  6. I live in Fl but my employer is in MA, I have just been terminated, I believe my employer pays FL unemployment taxes, do I file for unemployment in FL or MA?

  7. I have been working part time for the past 5 years, partially retired and collecting social security. I have recently been given less and less hours every month, and haven’t received any hours at all for the past month. My employer hired someone full time a few months ago and it seems like they no longer need me. They didn’t offer me a full time position when they hired this new guy. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits?

    • If you lost the job due to involuntary reasons and continue looking for a job, you can qualify.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  8. I work a 4 day 10 hour work week totaling 40 hours (full-time Hourly). During slow month’s, they force us to leave up to five hours a day, unpaid. Would I be able to claim unemployment for the hours lost each week due to company forcing me to leave?

  9. We have had a business (family) for around 15 years. I have paid everything through my payroll company. I had to shut the doors due to sickness with my husband and a back injury (my son). We do not have the ability to perform the work due to sickness. I have no other recourse than to shut the doors. Can I receive benefits?

    • Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

      We do not have information in this regard.

  10. I am moving to florida in a couple of months. Will I be able to sign up for unemployment while seeking new employment?

    • If the separation from the last job was due to involuntary reasons such as lay offs, you can be eligible.

  11. I recently got into a car accident which left me with a foot injury, I went to the doctor and they told me I could work the next day, even though I could barely walk. My car was total lost which left me with no transportation for work, but luckily my mother helped me get a rental. After numerous absences due to that situation I was laid off. Am I still eligible for unemployment?

    • If you’re now able and available for work, please speak the Unemployment Office and apply accordingly.

  12. I have several questions, please?
    I have been laid off from my job in Virginia and my last day will be June 30, 2016. Due to my lenghth of employment and amount of salary, I qualify to receive benefits for 26 weeks provided I meet all eligibility requirements. I plan to visit my family in Florida for a few months from July 1 through November, 2016, and would like to receive my unemployment benefits as well. My questions:
    1) Do I register my unemployment claim through Virginia, but manage the physical requirements of attending workshops, etc. through the Florida office?
    2) Do I seek jobs in Florida and abide by Florida requirements (e.g., biweekly reporting) or if I register in Virginia, do I need to comply with Virginia requirements?
    3) If I am still unemployed when I return to Virginia, say in December of 2016, could I then continue the same claim or would I need to (or be eligible to) begin a new claim to start benefits again?

    • One answer to all your questions.
      You can only apply from VA and fulfill the requirements from there. What you can perhaps do is seek transfer of benefits to FL at a later date.

  13. I was terminated from my job today. The reasons they gave me were inconsistency in sales, cleanliness, and guest service. Would I be eligible for unemployment?

  14. I do historic restoration work so most of the work that I do is paid for by grants. In the middle of one of our projects, I received a higher paying job offer. When I put in notice, my boss offered to match it while on the Grant project if I would stay because I was the only one with experience. I agreed. After the project was over I was offered full time at a lower rate or part time at my current rate. I chose part-time only to find that he meant work when he had it, no work when he doesn’t. I worked full time hours until this month. Now less than 20 hours. Is there any kind of partial benefit program? If so, would I be ineligible due to my part-time status?

    • One can be eligible for partial benefits if they do not work full time due to involuntary reasons such as reduction by the employer. Voluntarily choosing part time may not qualify.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  15. I am currently employed by a hotel that will be closing. We have received a 60 day notice of the closing date. If I resign before the date given, would I still be eligible to draw unemployment?

  16. I am going out on FLMA. I will not have enough time while out of work. Can I apply for Unemployment benefits, while out of work. I could be out at least 6 to 8 weeks. Are there other options I can benefit from?

  17. I am being forced to resign to receive a severance package that eliminates my ability to seek employment within my field of experience. If forced to resign would I be eligible for Unemployment? I f I refuse will I be eligible?

    • Yes, you can draw UI benefits if the job separation is due to involuntary reasons.

      If you refuse, you may not qualify.

  18. I was working for a company in Orlando, Fl. I went to the emergency room as I was having an issue with my shoulder and was put into an immobilizing sling. I informed my employer of this and the next day went to my regular doctor who put me on restricted duty , clerical work only until medically released, but my employer has no clerical duties available as is it is bagel store, but I could still run a register. I sent my manager a copy of the form from my doctors notice of this and asked him what we needed to do. He never contacted me back but has now told my former coworkers that I quit. Which I did not! I simply informed him that I could not do the physical work required of me. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits.

    • Yes, you can be eligible to receive Unemployment Benefits for unfair termination.

      Please consider filing and keep the required supporting documents handy, if your employer disputes.

  19. I was recently laid off due to my services no longer being needed. I worked with the company from Aug 2015 until Jan 18, 2016. Do I fall with in the base period and will I qualify for UI benefits?

  20. I gave my employer a formal resignation letter because I had accepted a new job. When I turned in my letter my employer let myself go immediately. Can I still qualify for unemployment?

  21. My job is allowing us to move to apart time schedule. I recently started school and volunteered to work a later schedule.When I volunteered they said they could not grant my request because I’m on correction action which I’m fighting. If they fire me for missing to attend school will I be able to collect unemployment? I would prefer to work but I need some for of income.

    • Well, personal reasons such as schooling are not considered. You may not be eligible to receive UI benefits.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  22. I’m being told that if you made too much money you will not qualify for unemployment if you are laid off. Is there a maximum salary you can make to qualify for unemployment?

    • As far as my knowledge goes, there are no restrictions as such.

      Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  23. I was let go from my company. Their main office is in Texas but I worked and live in Florida. Where should I apply?

  24. I started my past job at the end of May last year, and I was laid off Dec 29. Will I be able to receive benefits? Thanks

  25. My wife is in a very small office (1 employee)and the owner is constantly talking in a very offensive manner… She has brought it to his attention that she is offended a few times but the behavior continues… she is very frustrated and wants to quit… will she be eligible to receive benefits if she does? She meets all other requirements

  26. I recently worked a job and fulfilled the year contract, No offer was made by the board to issue a new contract or to continue the work . I turned in my keys. Do I qualify for unemployment.

    • Contracted employees are generally not eligible.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  27. I have been working for the past 12 mths 1130 am-8 pm and about a mth ago I told my employer I could not work past 7 pm anymore. Last week my employer told us that they are changing our hrs to 10 pm to 9am and we have to change to a overnight schedule. I can not work overnights because of childcare. they are saying this will be a volentay separation if I choose not to work overnights and that I wont be able to file for unemployment. I live in fl.
    Is this true

    • It is true that if you decide to quit, it may be considered as voluntary separation. On the flip side,if you’re being asked to work in hostile environment, you might be eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  28. Hello, I live in Florida. My husband received a promotion and we had to relocate 4 1/2 hours away (still in the state). I gave my resignation to my company but they asked that I stay on and work from home as a temp. I agreed and did this for 2 1/2 months until they told me at this time I am not needed however I am still considered an active employee with the company incase they need any additional work. Can I qualify for unemployment benefits until they call and or I find a new job at my new location?

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  29. working outside united states past four years. returned 5 months ago. have not been able to find employment yet. am i eligible for unemployment compensation.

    • If your employer paid taxes into the US system, you can be eligible.

      Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state.

  30. Hi I’ve been working for this company for nearly a year and my previous job right before it over a year. Right now I am unable to hold a full time job which is what I have am unhappy with this job- which can affect my performance, and I am currently training for a certification for a new job. In this circumstance: AM I ABLE TO QUIT AND APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, I don’t want to get fired, it’s like a bad mark in my job history.

    • If you quit for unacceptable reasons, you will not be eligible.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  31. I may be fired from my because I am unable to work enforced mandatory overtime. The company has enforced a 12 hour/6 day work week. I have made several request to be exempt from new schedule because my wife is mourning the passing of her mother. My request for an 8hr/5 day schedule have been denied unless were covered under FMLA. Unfortunately my wife will not seek counseling but I must be available to help care for our daughter regardless. I am in a position were I must leave work early unexcused and risk termination or quit. Will I be eligible for benefits in either situation?

    • Please check for relevant labor laws in your state that pertains to cap on the number of hours and accordingly ascertain your eligibility.

      Contact the labor authorities in your state for further information.

  32. I am likely to be fired from my position in a hospital for refusing to take the flu vaccine. I believe making this mandatory is a violation of personal freedoms. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits while I look for a new position?

  33. I recently moved to florida from ct where I was working has a facility down here but I have been here for four weeks now and still am not working they claim they are waiting for paperwork am I eligible to collect

  34. There is a possibility the company I work for will be going out of business. I have been employed for 1 year. I am 68 years old and receive a small social security check each month. Would I still be eligible for UI benefits?

    • Social security benefits may have a bearing when you apply for Unemployment Insurance. Please speak to the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly if laid off.

  35. If the company is relocating and I cant travel due to the distance (63 miles) from my home address. If I cannot relocate with the company, can I quality for UI benefits

    • Depends. If your state allows this and has provisions regarding the distance traveled, you can qualify for UI benefits.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  36. I quit my job a few weeks after being demoted due to being deemed undependable after being hospitalized twice in two months. Am I eligible?

  37. Hi. I recently filed for unemployment and I got this message when I logged on the website under my username:

    Access to this claim is unavailable. To speak to an agent regarding regaining access to this claim please call 888-993-9713.

    • Please note we’re not associated with the labor authorities in your state. This is a private forum. Call the official phone numbers for an update.

  38. I am pregnant and due 11/28/15 I have been working at the same 2 apartment complexes for a little over 2 years we have the same owners but we got a new management company on 1/1/15 the owners requested that they keep us at there properties if we wanted to stay working. Well when I went to find out about maternity leave they told me that I would be terminated when I go to have my baby and that they will not be holding my job for me because I have not been employed by there company for 12 months to qualify for FMLA. Which is just crazy to me because I will be going into the 12 month when I have my baby and I have never been with out a job for the last 13 years. Will I qualify for unemployment I don’t want to be terminated but I can’t control when to have my baby.

  39. My boss tried to fire me. I asked her for another chance, now the work environment is unbearable. Will I qualify for benefits?

  40. I have been a Professional Land Surveyor at the same firm for 28 years, and must relocate to North Carolina due to financial reasons and to help care for a family member, I asked to be laid off and will be moving October 2 but the firm is saying that they won’t give me a letter laying me off. Will I be eligible for benefits? Should I apply in Florida or wait until North Carolina? I won’t be able to work for about 2 months after the move, but plan to work after I get settled in……
    JT

    • You may not qualify for UI since it is only provided to people who lose their jobs involuntarily.

      One can apply from the state where they last worked.

  41. I live in Florida and was laid off from work due to no fault of my own. Can I collect my pension and/or 401k benefits and still qualify for unemployment?

  42. I have been a work from home PM for a major bank for 9 years. They recently decided to change my work arrangement so that I must come into an office. I am unable to do so for several reasons. If I resign will I be eligible for UI?

    • Please log in online and look out for options to upload relevant documents.

      If you do not find the option, please call on the numbers provided.

  43. I have been working as independent contractor for the last 15 years. The company terminated my work this Monday. They don’t need me anymore.
    Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • Contract jobs are not considered for unemployment insurance.

      Please contact the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  44. My contract with a college was not renewed because the administration claimed insubordination on my part. This issue was over my trying to start an Ultimate Frisbee club. Yes, true story. Can I claim unemployment benefits? Should I make the claim and see if the college disputes my claim? Thanks, Roy

  45. I was laid off from my job on July 16, and I immediately started applying for other jobs. I did not file for unemployment right away because I had several interviews lined up for the following week. However, I did not not receive an offer for any of the positions due to various reasons out of my control. I did apply for UI benefits approximately three weeks later, but when I log into my account it states that everything is still pending.
    The site did asked me to enter in my work for the first week of August, but after completing that section, I was advised that I would not receive benefits for that week due to the week being my waiting period. Does my unemployment claim go back to the date of being unemployed, or well I not receive any compensation for the first 2 1/2 weeks? Who do I contact if the dates are wrong and I should be compensated from The date of termination in July? Thank you!

    • The first week of your initial claim is considered as waiting week. The best solution for all your answers will be to call up the claims center on the numbers provided for further information on your claim.

  46. I was working at a hospital food service operation with 4 years of exemplary service and stellar evaluations, Sodexo took over our operation. Both my bosses have been let go, I was 3rd highest on chain of command before they took over and took away my impending promotion. This past weekend, threw my back out, was on the way to emergency room and trying to contact the supervisor on duty to make aware of not being able to come in the next day, after multiple attempts to contact my department, I was able to leave a message on one of lines to the food service dept. As I was in a great deal of pain and very frustrated, my message was stressed and loud. The day I returned to work, I was terminated for using an unprofessional tone as a supervisor and I’m held to a higher standard. Needless to say, the director of Sodexo could have gave me a warning or a written counseling, but went all the way to termination. My Sodexo replacement showed up that morning. I don’t consider my phone message as misconduct, as it was more of an error in judgement considering my physical condition at the time. I explained that to the director and H.R., but since I’m held to a higher standard, the termination sticks. Am I eligible for benefits or not? 4 years in good standing, no warning just termination. Any help?

    • If you feel you’ve been terminated wrongly, you can file an appeal if they deny unemployment benefits during the initial phase.

      Ensure you’ve all the supporting documents handy.

  47. My husband was relocated to another state for work and therefore I had to quit my job to go with him. We are not in the military would I be eligible for unemployment.

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  48. I am working in the research field as a part time as needed basis was advised that we have no work availbe for the month of august and they are unsure of whether or not they have work for me in September, been with the company since May 2015. I am in Fl . Can I file for unemployment?

    • Not sure if you will be eligible for scheduled time off.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

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