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All About Unemployment Benefits In Florida During The Pandemic

Updated : October 9th, 2020

Unemployment benefits, popularly known as Reemployment Assistance in Florida, are given to people who are unemployed through no fault of their own and meet state-defined eligibility requirements. However, ever since the Coronavirus pandemic spread across Florida, the state made several changes to the eligibility requirements. In this detailed article, we will guide you through every little detail pertaining to unemployment benefits in Florida. 

Unemployment Benefits In Florida During The Pandemic 

Millions of Americans lost their job as a direct result of the pandemic. To help the unemployed meet their needs during the crisis, President Donald Trump announced The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act included several provisions like extended benefits, unemployment benefits for those who otherwise did not qualify for benefits, etc. 

After consulting and receiving guidelines from the U.S. Department Of Labor (DOL), the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) began implementing various unemployment benefits in Florida. 

The unemployment benefits programs implemented in the state under the CARES Act are as follows:

1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA is aimed at providing benefits to unemployed gig workers, independent contractors, self-employed, and others who do not qualify for regular benefits. Under this program, you can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks. The program is expected to end in December 2020. 

2. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Under this program, those who qualified for Reemployment Assistance and PUA received $600 additional weekly unemployment benefits. This program expired on July 25 and was replaced by $300 extra weekly benefits. 

3. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

PEUC program provides unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. To qualify for this program, you must exhaust the benefits received through the Reemployment Assistance program. The program is expected to end in December 2020. 

Note – You are required to renew your PUA or PEUC applications every new quarter. To know more about it visit the DEO website.

Who Qualifies For Unemployment Benefits In Florida During The Pandemic?

Generally, to qualify for regular Florida unemployment benefits, you should meet work search requirements apart from being unemployed through no fault of your own. However, due to the pandemic, the DEO has waived the work search and online work registration requirements until December 2020. 

Though these eligibility criteria have been waived, you may still see the requirement pop-up when certifying your weeks. In such a situation, enter “COVID19” in the field to get past the work search requirement.

Extended Unemployment Benefits In Florida

Recently the DEO announced that if the unemployment rate exceeds 5% in the third quarter, it will roll out benefits for extended weeks. The extended benefit weeks would come into effect in January 2021. The Department further added that it calculates the state’s number of weeks for Reemployment Assistance based on the recent third calendar year quarter’s average unemployment rate. 

DEO is said to add six weeks of extended weeks in December 2020. Generally, Florida provides 12 weeks of unemployment benefits. With extended benefits, the duration is capped at a total of 23 weeks. 

Who Qualifies For Extended Unemployment Benefits In Florida?

To qualify for the extended unemployment benefits, you must exhaust your payment received through Reemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. If you have already exhausted your FEUC benefits, you can apply for the PUA program since extended benefits have not rolled out yet. 

Note that the Department is setting up systems to roll out the extended benefits as early as possible. Once Extended Benefits, the Department will outreach the qualified to ensure they are receiving benefits through the program.

Latest Updates On Unemployment Benefits In The State

The Department of Economic Opportunity has clarified various aspects of the unemployment benefits in the state. Here, let’s have a look at a few among them. 

1. Over Payment

If you have been overpaid, make sure you do not spend the extra money. This is because: 

  • The Department may ask you to return it 
  • The Department may deduct the amount from your future benefits to make up for the difference

Note that the DEO will contact you if it suspects overpayment.

2. Going Back To Work

If you have begun taking a job, you may continue to request benefits for the weeks you were unemployed. If there is a week that overlaps with the week that you took up a job, you must indicate that you have worked and earned wages during that week. 

If you have taken up a full-time job or earned over $275 in gross wages during the overlapping week, then you will not qualify for benefits that week. However, if you have earned less than $275, you may qualify for benefits.

3. Backdating Unemployment Claims 

The Department has announced backdating unemployment claims. To backdate your regular claim, call the authorities at 833-FL-APPLY (1–833–352- 7759). If you are a PUA beneficiary, you need not take any additional steps. You will be automatically backdated, depending on your total claim that shows when you were unemployed. 

Note that the Department is said to conduct a fact-finding to cross-check if the date you requested is accurate when backdating claims. It is important to know that backdating regular claims may result in an overpayment which the Department will recover by deducting the amount from your PEUC. 

Keep checking your mail and CONNECT inbox to ensure you do not miss updates from DEO.

4. Account Is Blocked

Your account may be blocked or put on hold if there are any identity verification issues. You can reach out to the authorities at the legislative office with your Claimant ID and request them to unlock your account. 

Closing Thoughts 

The Department of Economic Opportunity is going the extra mile to help unemployed Floridians meet their end needs during the crisis. Do not worry if you have not yet received benefits. The Department may take some time due to enormous applications, but it will certainly pay you, provided you qualify for it. If you have already exhausted benefits, then patiently wait for the extended benefits while searching for a job.  

 

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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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