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The Complete Guide to Unemployment Benefits in Florida

If you’re a Florida citizen and unemployed, you may qualify for Unemployment benefits in Florida. Learn about the eligibility requirements and how to apply.

The Federal government partners with Florida state to provide financial assistance to workers out of work for reasons that are not their fault. 

The Florida Reemployment Assistance program helps cater to the financial needs of Florida residents until they become employed. The Department of Economic Opportunity (SEO) administers this program. 

Like every other state, Florida has a standard procedure for application. This post will discuss the requirements and qualifications and show you where and how to submit an unemployed benefit application.

Florida Unemployment Services

Website floridajobs.org
Phone 800-204-2418
Apply Online https://fileaclaim.myflorida.com
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Find a Local Office Office Locations
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Coronavirus Updates COVID-19 Assistance

Who is eligible for unemployment benefits in Florida?

According to the Florida Reemployment Assistance program requirements, anyone who wants to apply for Florida unemployment benefits must: 

1. Have Citizenship and Work Authorization

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Florida, applicants must be either U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or authorized to work in the United States. Valid work authorization documents must be provided during the application process.

2. Have Worked in Florida for at least the Last Year

Applicants must have a qualifying work history in Florida to qualify for benefits. Typically, they must have earned a certain amount of wages in their base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before their unemployment claim. Additionally, they must have lost their job through no fault of their own, such as being laid off due to business closures or downsizing.

3. Monetary Eligibility

Candidates must meet specific monetary requirements to ensure they have been actively contributing to the state's unemployment insurance program. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assesses the applicant's wages during the base period. The minimum earnings threshold and the total wages earned during the base period are crucial factors in determining eligibility.

4. Availability and Job Search

Florida residents must be currently, partially, or temporarily unemployed to receive benefits. Then they can demonstrate their readiness to work and actively seek employment opportunities. This involves registering with the state's Employ Florida website and regularly logging job search activities. Individuals must apply for suitable job openings and keep a record of their efforts, as this information may be subject to verification by the DEO.

5. Requalification

Should applicants have previously claimed unemployment benefits, they must check if they qualify for reemployment assistance (also known as requalification). Requalification requires that the applicant earned wages equal to or exceeding 17.5 times the weekly benefit amount they previously received and were employed for at least five weeks during their previous benefit year.

You will not qualify for Unemployment benefits if you quit your job for personal reasons or your contract was terminated due to "an unruly behavior."

You won't be ineligible for benefits because of poor job performance.  

What documentation is needed to apply for unemployment benefits in Florida? 

The documents required to prove Florida unemployment eligibility are straightforward. They include: 

  • Personal information such as name, gender, date of birth, education, and race. 

  • Social security number

  • Florida ID and driver's license 

Non-US citizens should provide the following: 

  • Alien Registration number 

  • Work authorization form 

Military employees should provide the following: 

  • Proof of discharge from active duty 

Union members should prepare the following information:

  • Hall number 

  • Union name 

  • Phone number 

Federal employees should provide the following: 

  • Their SF 50 or SF 8 

Additionally, all claimants should provide proof of their past 18 months of employment. This includes: 

  • Employer name, phone number, and address

  • Date of the first day and last day at work 

  • Pre-employment gross earning 

  • Reason for unemployment 

  • Employer's Federal Employer ID number (FEIN) 

  • Details on Pay Stub for employers without a FEIN number

With these documents, you can proceed to the next stage. The application process can continue even if not all documents are in place. However, getting everything in place is best for a hassle-free process.  

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Florida

Unemployment applications can start within one week of partial layoff or unemployment. 

In Florida, applicants can submit claims online, but an account must be created on the agency website before applying. 

The website is mobile-friendly and accessible to virtually every residence. Completing the application takes less than an hour. Plus, you can save your current progress and continue later. Keep a social security number and pin when logged in. 

Visit CONNECT, Florida's UI system, to file a claim. Input your information and complete the form in detail. 

After cross-checking the information entered on the unemployment claim application, click submit. 

Once the agency reviews your application, they'll send a determination notice and a wage transcript showing whether you're monetarily eligible for unemployment. 

If you meet these criteria, the agency will also determine whether you meet the other requirements (for instance, whether you were unemployed due to no fault of yours) and will send the next determination notice. 

If the agency grants your unemployment claim, you'll be eligible to request payment every two weeks, either by phone or online. Make sure you continue to meet current eligibility requirements, such as an active search for work. You can always call the reemployment assistance help center with questions.

Here's an example of someone qualifying for Florida's state unemployment benefits. 

Example: Elena had worked as a hotel receptionist in Florida for six years. However, she lost her job in June 2021 due to a "staff layoff" from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Elena has never filled out a Florida unemployment benefit form before. 

Fortunately, she was excited when she noticed that she had met the basic requirements for benefits. And she was super delighted when the DEO approved her claim. 

The lesson? You'll only know if you're eligible for unemployment insurance if you apply. 

How much unemployment benefits can I receive in Florida?

Unemployment insurance in Florida offers one of the lowest in the country, with a weekly benefit amount maximum of $275 and a minimum of $32. 

Although the maximum unemployment benefit amount is small, it can still help when laid off. 

Keep in mind that, like the temporary disability benefits, the goal of unemployment benefits is to help supplement a portion of lost income. In addition, it's a short-term solution to help you stay afloat while hunting for new jobs. 

When approved, you'll receive up to 12 weeks' worth of benefits or $3,300 within a year in Florida unemployment benefits. Afterward, the all unemployment assistance stops. Unemployment assistance can also end when you get a job. However, you may continue to receive the benefit payment if you find a part-time job that pays less than $275 per week. Lastly, your benefit payment may only stop if you fail to meet the eligibility requirements. 

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