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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 am currently working in the State of Florida two part time jobs, one in the morning (for a real estate office) from 9-12 making $15 per hour and one in the afternoon (for a church) from 1 to 5 making $13 per hour. My morning job said they are going to lay me off. I have been with both companies for 6 years. Will I be eligible for partial unemployment? If so, do you know how much I would be eligible for?

    • I am not receiving my full forty hrs. per week. Working twenty four
      to thirty three hrs. per week.
      Can I receive partial unemployment for the lost hrs. that I am not
      receiving?

      • I would go ahead and apply for unemployment. I would think you would get
        partial compensation after being reduced in hours from full time to part time. Good luck.

  2. I was arrested on an old warrant i knew nothing about and was incarcerated. I was not able to contact my employer during this time(5 days) and was subsequently terminated for three no call-no shows. Am i eligible for UC?

  3. I was a 1099 employee. Laid off last week. I am not sure weather my employers paid unemployment taxes. Am I still eligible if I was a 1099 Employee?

  4. I have been employed in Florida for over 10 years. My company A is closing and merging work with company B. My last day will 11/30/13. Company B is hiring me for 2 months up to Jan 31, 2014 on a 1099. will I be eligible for unemployment benefits from my previous employer beginning Feb. 1, 2014?

  5. I injured myself at my part time job, and am now receiving worker’s comp. My full time employer will not allow me to report to work because of the worker’s comp. The full time employer is now telling me I have to resign. Will I receive unemployment from my full time employer while I am receiving worker’s comp from my part time employer?

  6. I worked for 7 years in Texas and I was laid off in August. I applied in Texas for unemployment, but it has not been approved yet. I since have moved to Florida to live with family to save expenses, and I am looking for work here. Can I apply for unemployment in Florida?

    • My wife and I currently live in the state of Pennsylvania. In the fall we plan to relocate to Florida due to my wife’s health problems. I will have to leave my job and find employment in Florida. Will I be able to apply for unemployment in Florida?

      • You must be looking at applying from the state where you were employed last as the employer would have paid into the state taxes.

  7. I left Winn Dixie in April for a job with more hours at WALMART. Yesterday I was laid off after working many weeks for 35-40 hours. WALMART says I was a seasonal temporary employee. Does that disqualify me from unemployment compensation? Thank you for your help.

  8. I resigned from my last position (in another state) to move with my wife who is attending school full time (college). Am I eligble for unemployment while looking for work?

  9. I apply unemployment I said I took the assessment test. I took it the last time I was on unemployment is that one still good. You can also call me at Thanks!

    • This is a public website – please do not post personal information. This is not the unemployment office. If by assessment test, you are talking about job search type services it may depend on how long ago the last time was.

  10. My current boss of 17 years is selling our practice. The potential buyers have agreed to keep us on staff for 6 months, however they are only offering us half our long term wages. Would we qualify for unemployment due to such a large pay loss?

    • The company I work for was sold and they are offering the severance package for those will not move to the new employer, this the new employer building is twenty miles far from our actual building and twenty seven miles from my house, they are offering position in the new company but the salary is very low comparing what I get now. Do I qualify for unemployment.

    • Sounds likely – but in addition to such a drastic reduction in pay are there reductions to your responsibilities? Until it happens no one can give you a firm answer as they need facts to do that.

  11. The company has advise me that there is no work yet they haven’t told me whether or not I been laid off or fired, so what do I do I’m going on two weeks with out pay?

    • Call the unemployment office to initiate a claim, ask if they would back date it to your very last day worked or possibly before if your hours were lower than usual. Do your best to preserve a good relationship with the employer, perhaps they will give you a date of recall – try to get it in writing.

  12. I moved from Tennessee to Florida for a job. After 1 month, I was laid off from the Florida job. I applied for unemployment benefits in Florida but was told I hadn’t worked long enough in Florida so I should file for unemployment benefits in Tennessee. Will I be able to apply in Tennessee even though I live and was laid off in Florida?

    • Yes and since you had some earnings in Florida, I am surprised they did not allow you to file there… Perhaps it is because you have no earnings in Florida in your base year.

  13. Military spouse, relocating to Florida in 2 months. I am currently full time employed in the state of WA. Due to our military relocation I will be unemployed after Oct. 11, 2013. Will I be eligible for compensation when we arrive in Florida?

  14. I was hired 7 years ago as a homeworker. The company was sold to AFS almost 3 years ago. They “grandfathered” the homeworkers into the company and suddenly in the past 3 months, they have began to “spueeze” us to come into the office to work. We have been told by our Operations Manager that our jobs will be going to India very soon and that only a select few will be maintained in the Oldsmar office. Most of us took the work from home position because we have flexible hours and can take care of elderly parents and children. If the companies changes do not allow us to continue our work, what are our options? Will we still be eligible for unemployment benefits? We are not quitting, but are being placed in a difficult position because the company is making changes to something they “grandfathered” in for us. Please help. There is a group of 13 of us who do not know what to do and need money until we can find another job. thank you.

    • Hi Susan,

      Unemployment can kick in when you are laid off. If the company dismisses you as they plan on outsourcing, there are chances to receive unemployment compensation.

  15. I wanted to know if a person is eligible for unemployment compensation if your scheduled hours per week have been cut in half?

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes, if a person’s working hours have been cut significantly, he or she is eligible to receive partial unemployment pay. Please note that this person will have to pass other eligibility requirements as well.

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