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.
UI Benefits Amount in Florida
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.
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.
See our eligibility calculator to find out if you qualify for Unemployment Benefits in the state of Pennsylvania.
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, you must 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.
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.
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
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Sept. 24 as a Category 4 storm, making it the ninth named storm, the fourth hurricane, and the second major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Since then, estimates show that the storm is responsible for more than 100 deaths and upwards of 2,500 water rescues.
Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on Florida’s electric grid, resulting in power outages for more than 2.5 million Florida residents. When the storm hit Florida, it brought with it winds of approximately 145 miles per hour and more than 10 inches of rain across 3,500 square miles of Florida, or roughly 5% of the state. Its storm surge peaked at roughly 7.5 feet in Fort Myers, breaking the previous record surge of 3.36 feet during Hurricane Gabrielle in 2001.
Devastating effects from Hurricane Ian are likely to be felt across Florida for quite some time, including tens of thousands unemployed and an economic total of insured losses between $53 billion and $74 billion. Hurricane Ian will likely turn out to be the most costly hurricane to make landfall in Florida in the state’s history. It is estimated that the federal National Flood Insurance Program could experience as much as $10 billion in losses from storm surges and inland flooding as a result of the storm. A substantial portion of the damage is due to flooding, with the coastal surge wiping out homes and businesses near the shoreline, while inland flooding hit record levels across central Florida.
What Is FEMA?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, can provide some level of assistance to Florida residents who suffered damage to their homes and/or businesses as a result of Hurricane Ian. FEMA’s assistance generally meets three major types of need: reimbursement of lodging expenses, rental assistance for temporary housing, and financial assistance for major repairs and out of pocket expenses.
For many residents, flood damage may make their homes immediately inhabitable. In these cases, FEMA can reimburse applicants for expenses associated with immediate lodging – as long as the applicant can verify occupancy in a primary residence within a designated county and can verify that their primary residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible due to damage from Hurricane Ian.
FEMA may be able to provide immediate financial assistance with rent, including any required security deposit, if an applicant’s primary residence was made uninhabitable by Hurricane Ian. This financial support also includes coverage of essential utilities including electricity and water.
For households that need assistance to meet their basic household needs, FEMA can help cover long-term repairs to structural parts of a home, which may include windows, doors, floors, ceilings, and utility systems. However, it’s important to understand that FEMA’s assistance focuses on basic needs – not restoring a home and personal property items to their pre-hurricane condition.
FEMA also may be able to assist applicants with out of pocket expenses caused by Hurricane Ian, including items like medical and dental expenses; repair or replacement of household items including appliances, clothing, and furniture, educational materials, storage, and other incidental expenses incurred as a result of storm damage.
Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is a federal benefit program that assists people who lose their jobs because of a disaster. When a disaster occurs, the governor of the state requests federal assistance, and at this point, the state’s unemployment agency will announce the availability of DUA funds. At that point, eligible state residents may begin to apply and must do so by the publicly stated deadline. The disaster period spans 27 weeks starting with the first week after the day the major disaster began and ending with the 27th week after the day the situation was declared a major disaster.
In the current case, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to Florida residents who have lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Ian. This applies to both employees and to those who are independently self-employed and have seen their work either halted or interrupted after the storm.
DUA can help supplement missed income for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 25, 2022, and running through April 1, 2023, for as many weeks as the worker’s unemployment continues to be a direct result of Hurricane Ian. It’s important to note, though, that if a claimant already receives state re-employment assistance, they are not eligible to receive DUA. In addition, a claimant must exhaust all eligibility for regular re-employment benefits before being eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The deadline for submitting an application for DUA related to Hurricane Ian is December 30, 2022.
Once a claimant receives a decision regarding DUA compensation, they have 60 days to appeal the decision, and appeals will be decided within 30 days of receipt.
DUA is currently available for residents of the following Florida counties: Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardy, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia.
Q. How do I file my claim for unemployment benefits in Florida?
In the state of Florida, you must file your claims through the online portal called - CONNECT. You need to get an exemption from the concerned department if you are incapable of using the internet. If you get an exemption, you can then file for unemployment benefits by calling 1-833-352-7759.
Q. How do I file an appeal?
You must appeal hearing within 20 calendar days after the distribution date of the determination. If the 20th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, you may file the appeal the next business day.
You can file an appeal through any of the following options -
Online: Through CONNECT
Email: [email protected]
Mail: Office of Appeals
P.O. Box 5250,
Tallahassee, FL 32399-5250
Q. What is CONNECT?
CONNECT is Florida’s Reemployment Assistance claims system. CONNECT offers access to file, manage, and review your claim details 24/7.
Q. Help, I received a technical error. What do I do?
Listed below are some common issues with CONNECT. You can try -
Clearing your cache or browser history. You can do this in your web browser settings.
CONNECT is not compatible with mobile devices. So try logging in through a desktop.
CONNECT works best with Internet Explorer, but also works in other internet browsers.
If you continue to receive technical errors after making these adjustments, please contact the department at 1-833-352-7759.
Q. Will I be eligible for unemployment insurance while working part-time and how will it affect my claim/benefits?
If your part-time earnings are more than $58, it will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. If your gross earnings in a week are more than your weekly benefit amount, no benefits will be paid to you for that week. You do not lose the benefits - the benefits are just not paid for that week. The benefits remain as available credits. You must also continue seeking full-time employment unless all of your work during the base period of your claim was part-time work.
Q. What am I expected to do once I complete the application process?
After completing your application process, you are required to complete the following tasks:
You must register for work through the Employ Florida website without fail.
You should make sure to review your Monetary Determination.
Do not forget to maintain a record of your weekly job contacts and request benefits biweekly.
You must also review your Home page in CONNECT to complete any open fact-finding and review any important messages on your account.
Q. Can my claim be backdated to when I became unemployed?
In the state of Florida, the Unemployment Compensation Law mandates that the effective date of your claim must be the Sunday prior to the date you file your claim.
Q. What documents do I need to establish a valid work search contact?
In order to establish a valid work search contact, you need to submit the following documents:
Date of Contacting the prospective employer
How did you contact the prospective employer? (In person, Online, Fax, Phone, etc.)
Contact details of the employer, such as the name of the business, the name of the employer, telephone number, address, website URL and an e-mail ID.
Results of your search
Type of work sought
Q. How many work search contacts do I need to provide to the department per benefit week?
You are required to provide five work search contacts for every benefit week.