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Additional $300 Unemployment Benefits In Florida: What You Should Know

Updated : September 14th, 2020

Florida is one of the states which received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. The approval means that the eligible people can receive benefits on top of their regular benefits. So who qualifies for an additional $300 unemployment benefits in Florida?

In this article, we will guide you through the eligibility criteria in the state and lots more. 

More About $300 Unemployment Benefits In Florida

Post expiration of $600 weekly benefits, President Donald Trump had signed a new executive order under which states can provide enhanced benefits to the qualified, provided they receive approval from FEMA.  

Recently, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) had applied for grants under the LWA program and received the approval. This means that Floridians eligible for Reemployment Assistance for weeks ending on or after August 1 can receive the additional $300 benefits.

After approving the state’s application, Pete Gaynor, FEMA Administrator, stated, “Unemployed Floridians are now eligible for the $300 per week in addition to their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit, provided the unemployment is the direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Who Qualifies For Additional Unemployment Benefits In Florida?

To qualify for extra $300 unemployment benefits in Florida, you must meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • You must be receiving a minimum $100 weekly benefit under the Reemployment Assistance program weekly benefit
  • You must have notified the Department that you are fully or partially unemployed due to the Coronavirus pandemic

You can also qualify for benefits if you receive at least $100 through any of the following programs. 

  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Short-Time Compensation (STC)
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) 
  • Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Benefits under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program

How To Apply For $300 Weekly Benefits In The State?

If you are currently receiving benefits through any of the unemployment programs, you need not separately apply for additional benefits. The Department will automatically collect your information and pay you benefits. 

When Will You Receive The Additional Unemployment Benefits? 

The Department of Economic Opportunity is taking all possible steps to effectively implement the LWA program and pay out the extra benefits to the qualified Floridians as quickly as possible. 

LWA benefits will be issued either through a paper check or direct deposit. Note that benefits will be paid through a paper check if the debit card is chosen as a payment method. It is important to continue requesting your weekly benefit payments to help the Department process it to your account. 

To ensure you receive payments at the earliest, the Department recommends you to choose direct deposit as your preferred payment method. However, if you have selected a paper check as your payment method, make sure you verify your mailing address is correct, failing to which you may not receive the payments. 

What To Do If You Don’t Qualify For Additional Benefits?

Despite meeting eligibility requirements, if your additional $300 benefits are denied, you can file an unemployment appeal. You must file an appeal within 20 calendar days following the date of determination. If the 20th day falls on a legal holiday, Saturday, or Sunday, the appeal can be applied on the next business day. 

After filing an appeal, you will receive a notice of hearing that includes time, date, and contact information. Make sure you don’t miss the hearing, failing to which you may not receive benefits. However, if you cannot attend the scheduled hearing, inform the authorities in advance and request a postponement. 

During the hearing, the appeal referee will review the submitted documents, record statements, and give his or her decision. 

Note – Continue to apply for benefits during the appeals process. If you win the appeal, you will receive benefits for the applied weeks.  

Will You Qualify For Extra Benefits If You Have Recently Lost Your Job?

The state will pay benefits depending on your employment status on August 1. This indicates that you won’t qualify for first round of payments if you are recently unemployed. But if the state gets approval for additional weeks, you may receive payments in the future.

But first, you must apply for a Reemployment Assistance claim. Note that to qualify for the Reemployment program, you must meet certain criteria such as (but not limited to): 

  • Have lost your job through no fault of your own 
  • Have earned minimum wages in your base period 

Usually, the state requires you to meet work search requirements. However, due to the pandemic, this requirement has been suspended till December 2020.  

How To Apply For Florida Unemployment Benefits?

To apply for unemployment benefits in Florida, you must provide information such as:

1. Social Security number

2. Driving License, if any

3. State ID number

4. Details on your employment over the last 18 months, such as:

  • Employer names
  • Employer addresses and phone numbers
  • First and last working dates
  • Reason for job separation
  • Gross wages (before taxes) during employment periods
  • FEIN number (on your 1099 tax or W2 forms) or employer information from paystub

 Note 

1. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you must provide your work authorization form or Alien Registration Number.

2. If you are a union member, you must provide the union’s name, phone number, and hall number.

3. If you are a military employee, you must provide your DD-214 Member Copy 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8.

4. If you are a federal employee, you must provide SF 50 or SF 8.

To file an initial unemployment claim, either visit www.floridajobs.org or submit an application through connect.myflorida

You can also apply through a paper application. The completed form should be mailed to the following address. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, P.O. Box 5350. Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350. 

When Will The Benefits Last?

The Department has received guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor and FEMA, indicating that it would receive funds for approximately three weeks to pay the eligible claimants. However, the state may receive additional approvals on a week by week basis depending on the availability of funds.

Closing Thoughts

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is rigorously working on implementing the new executive order in the state. Though it would take some time, the Department guarantees that all the qualified will receive the benefits to meet their needs. To know more about the program, visit the state’s UI benefits. 

 

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