The Florida unemployment insurance (UI) program is called “Reemployment Assistance Benefits.” During recent years, the program was referred to as unemployment compensation, so petitioners may encounter both terms while conducting preliminary research as they prepare their applications. To claim unemployment benefits, candidates must meet specific program requirements that dictate who is eligible to receive UI and who is not. These requirements relate to income levels and general finances, as well as employment history
The sections below will outline these eligibility for unemployment prerequisites, as well as a guide describing how to apply for unemployment online. By maintaining updated personal records and preparing their statements beforehand, petitioners can strengthen the likelihood that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will accept their claims.
Like other states across the country, Florida’s UI benefits program is a helpful tool for local workers who need temporary financial assistance when they are in between jobs. Specifically, unemployment insurance is available to individuals who lost work through no fault of their own and are actively searching for new work opportunities. In Florida, these UI benefits are available to residents for up to 12 weeks within a single calendar year. How long candidates are eligible to receive these benefits is established based on the information applicants provide to the DEO.
Eligibility for unemployment in Florida is determined on a case-by-case basis, and the DEO reviews all applications individually. However, candidates may still wonder, “What are the requirements to get unemployment in FL?” Generally, unemployment insurance eligibility is determined after the DEO considers the following factors:
One of the most important factors that goes into determining who qualifies for unemployment in Florida relates to the first bullet point in this list: how applicants lost their jobs. When the DEO determines whether or not employees are responsible for their severances, they usually examine factors such as whether or not the employees quit, if they attempted to remedy their situations and if their supervisors encouraged or ordered them to quit. These cases are uniquely evaluated. However, employees who lost their jobs under the following circumstances are usually eligible to receive UI benefits:
Petitioners wondering how to apply for unemployment online must remember they must do so through the DEO’s website. The Florida online application for UI is straightforward, but before they begin to apply for unemployment benefits, petitioners must gather the following information to include in their applications:
Applicants may file an unemployment claim in Florida once they have gathered this information. Upon accessing the state’s UI registration page, claimants will be responsible for entering this information as accurately as possible. UI petitions can be submitted if the applications are not complete. However, doing so will result in claimants’ applications being delayed.
In most instances, applicants will need to participate in a Florida unemployment phone interview before the DEO can make decision regarding their cases. The questions asked during the UI interview are case-specific, and they are designed to help the DEO representatives determine whether or not candidates are eligible to receive program benefits. Oftentimes, the employers and the employees will be required to participate in these conversations. Regardless, both parties will receive notification from the DEO that outlines details relating to the UI interviews.
The unemployment interview with employer is usually brief, although the DEO may require employers to participate in additional calls if any issues or points of contention remain after the initial interviews. In order to make these conversations as productive and informative as possible, employers can prepare by having written documents on hand that relate to their employees’:
The unemployment interview with claimant functions similarly. Prior to their interviews, claimants will receive a notice mailed from the DEO, and these forms outline specific questions they may ask during the interviews. Candidates must prepare for the unemployment insurance interview by reviewing these points. In addition to preparing answers to these questions, UI candidates can prepare for the unemployment phone interview by gathering documentation related to:
These FL unemployment interviews are not graded, so there is no way to know how to pass the unemployment insurance interview. While the DEO uses these conversations in their evaluations, these interviews provide both parties with time to express their viewpoints. Therefore, employers and employees should focus on providing answers that are as detailed and accurate as possible.
Applicants may claim unemployment benefits in Florida only after their petitions for coverage have been accepted. This Wage Transcript and Determination notification informs candidates about the benefits they could receive, if they continue to meet additional program requirements. These maintenance-based stipulations are put in place to ensure recipients are still eligible to receive UI benefits after their initial acceptances. Examples of these requirements include:
Candidates who are denied unemployment in Florida can appeal these decisions. Appeals referees facilitate these reevaluations, and employers and employees can request appeals. These filings must be completed within 20 days of receiving the DEO’s determinations. These hearings are conducted over the phone, and both parties may submit written or verbal statements. In addition, the appeals referees will ask questions regarding the cases. Both parties are not required to participate in an unemployment denial appeal interview, but it is in their best interests to do so. The UI benefits appeal decision will overturn whatever had been previously decided, so employers and employees should take the opportunity to reiterate their cases.
Employers and employees do not need to participate in the UI benefits hearing alone. In fact, both parties are legally allowed to request:
Once the appeals referees make their decisions on these UI benefits appeals, they will notify both parties as soon as possible. These determinations will be mailed to participants, and the results will also be available online. If either party disagrees with the appeals decision, they have 20 calendar days from the time their notices were mailed to request a review by the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission.
Obtaining a federal unemployment extension is generally not an option for Florida UI beneficiaries. This is because these programs are only offered during periods of widespread employment challenges, and the federal government decides when this program goes into effect. When activated, this UI extension generally offers recipients up to an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits. Once these benefits are available, program participants must contact the DEO to request enrollment.
In order to contact the Florida unemployment office, individuals should call the DEO’s toll free number, which will present inquirers with self-service options. For additional assistance, they may be directed to speak with a customer service representative. For mailings and in-person inquires, the office is located at:
107E Madison Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399