Coronavirus: Here’s how to file for unemployment in Florida

With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, many people have found themselves without a job or enough income to pay for their needs. If you live in the state of Florida and have been are unable to work due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19, you can apply for temporary unemployment benefits. In this post, we are going to walk you through how to file for Unemployment benefits in Florida due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

We will explain the requirement for this emergency unemployment benefit and how you can apply remotely – online or by phone.

Furthermore, we will list the documents or evidence you will be required to provide in order to successfully file your emergency unemployment benefits application.

"How to file for Unemployment in Florida due to Coronavirus"

This post on Unemployment Benefits in Florida due to Coronavirus will cover:

  • Emergency Unemployment Benefits due to Coronavirus
  • Documents you need to apply for Unemployment in Florida
  • How to Apply for Florida Unemployment Benefits due to Corona Virus
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Unemployment Benefits Program in Florida

The unemployment benefits program in the state of Florida is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

The unemployment benefits program in Florida is called “Reemployment Assistance”.

Reemployment Assistance provides temporary wage replacement (unemployment insurance) benefits to eligible individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Am I eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Florida?

If you have a history of wages in the state of Florida, you are actively able and available to seek and accept new employment, and you are currently unemployed or work reduced hours through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance benefits in Florida.

Furthermore, you must have earned a minimum of $3,400 during a 12-month period to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Florida.

However, individuals whose employment has been impacted, but are still receiving wages through paid leave are not eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.

The documentation you need to apply for Unemployment in Florida

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, you must have the following information before you can file:

      • Social Security number
      • Driver’s license or state ID number
      • Your employment for the last 18 months, including for each employer: Name, address, and phone number
      • First and last day of work
      • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) during the listed dates
      • The reason for separation (the reason you became unemployed from each employer)
      • FEIN (this is found on any W2 or 1099 tax forms you have received)
      • If you don’t have the FEIN, you can use employer details off of a recent pay stub
      • DD-214 member 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 (if a military employee)
      • SF 8 or SF 50 (if a federal employee)

Claims filed without correctly reporting employers may experience delays. It is important to list the correct employment information when filing your claim. If you fail to do so, your benefits may be delayed while the missing employment information is obtained.

Furthermore, The United States Department of Labor says anyone who meets the following criteria that have resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic is eligible:

Additional Unemployment Benefits Eligibility due to Coronavirus

In addition to the eligibility requirements above, you are also eligible for unemployment benefits if you have been unable to work or you work has been severaly reduced due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the additional guidelines from the United States Department of Labor listing the circumstances that apply.

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work.
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

How to File Unemployment in Florida

There are two ways you can file for unemployment benefits during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Option 1 – Online

Unemployment benefits claims are handled by the CONNECT system. You can file your claim by accessing CONNECT through www.floridajobs.org.

Once there, click on the “Claimants” link as shown below.

"applying for unemployment benefits in Florida"

You will then be taken to a page that looks like the page below (after you accept the warning page).

Click on “File a New Claim” as shown by the arrow below. Follow the instructions to file your claim for unemployment insurance.

"applying for unemployment benefits in Florida 2"

Option 2 – Via Phone

People who need assistance filing a claim online because of legal reasons, computer illiteracy, language barriers, or disabilities may call 1-800-681-8102.

The video below, from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, does an excellent job of explaining the unemployment benefits application process and what to expect after you apply. We highly suggest that you watch the video.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the frequently asked questions about Florida Unemployment Benefits, including questions related to unemployment benefits due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

How long is the waiting period for Unemployment Benefits?

There is a one week waiting period before benefits are paid. The waiting period is the first week for which you would otherwise be eligible.

Generally, this is the first week of your claim. No payment is made for the waiting period.

However, most states, including the state of Florida are waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines.

What happens after I file a claim?

After your claim is filed, it goes through two levels of review.

First, your history of wages is reviewed to determine if you have earned enough to qualify for benefits.

Second, any issues (such as job separation) found during your application are reviewed to determine eligibility.

In addition, you must log in to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request benefit payment. Your first date to return to CONNECT is provided at the end of your application.

You must request benefits even while your claim is being reviewed. During your
request, you will need to report your job searches, work, and any earnings.

Once you complete your application, you will be required to complete the following:

  • Register for work through Employ Florida
  • Review your monetary determination
  • Keep a record of your weekly job contacts and request benefits biweekly, as stated above.

In addition, login to your CONNECT Home page to complete any open fact-findings and review any important messages on your account.

The video below from the Florida DEO explains what to do after you’ve filed your claim.

How much will I get in benefits if approved?

Florida’s maximum benefits adjust every year based on the previous year’s unemployment rates.

The least you can earn per week is $32, and the most is $275. Your weekly unemployment check is based on the base-period salary, which is 1/26th of your earnings during the highest-paid quarter of that period.

How are my benefits calculated?

The wages used to determine your benefit amounts are the first four of the last five calendar quarters.

Florida Unemployment Claim Schedule

If your claim begins between these dates: Your base period will be:
January 1 through March 31 October 1 through September 30
April 1 through June 30 January 1 through December 31
July 1 through September 30 April 1 through March 31
October 1 through December 31 July 1 through June 30

How do I receive payments after I am approved for benefits?

If you are determined eligible after all reviews are complete, payments will be distributed by direct deposit or through the Way2Go debit card based on your initial application.

Debit cards are mailed after the first payment is processed and may take
7-10 business days to receive by mail.

In addition, payments take 1-2 business to arrive after being processed.

Can I appeal a denial of Unemployment Benefits?

If you are denied Florida unemployment benefits by the DEO, or they award you a lower amount than you feel you are entitled to, you can appeal.

However, it’s important to note that you only have 20 days to file your appeal.

The Florida DEO’s website and Claimant Guide has more information on:

  • Instructions, forms, and the deadline for filing an appeal
  • How and where to file an appeal
  • The expected length of the appeal process.
  • What you should do if you file after the appeal deadline
  • What happens to your benefits while waiting for the DEO’s decision

Can I earn money while collecting unemployment benefits?

If you get hired for a new position that pays more than you are receiving in weekly unemployment compensation, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

However, if you find small jobs while you are unemployed and earn less than the weekly unemployment benefit amount, you still should be able to receive unemployment benefits.

However, if you make more than $58 per week, the state of Florida will deduct a portion from your unemployment check.

Also, you must report your gross income and your earnings each time you request a benefit payment.

In addition, any payment for work you earn has to be declared the week you worked to make it, not the week you receive a paycheck.

How long will my unemployment benefits last?

The factors that determine how long unemployment benefits last in Florida include the following:

  • Florida’s unemployment rate
  • The time you apply for unemployment benefits

Typically, twenty-three weeks is the maximum number of weeks you can collect.

However, during times of very high unemployment, such as during the Great Recession, you may apply for extended benefits (EB) or emergency unemployment compensation (EUC). 

These programs may be available if the unemployment rate increases dramatically due to the Coronavirus.

What do I have to do to keep receiving unemployment benefits?

Once you are approved for unemployment benefits in Florida, you have to do the following to remain eligible for your unemployment benefits:

    • Remain unemployed or underemployed, which typically means earning less than what you would receive in unemployment benefits
    • Be able and available to work.
    • Be actively looking for work.

You must file with the Florida DEO to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

How to File for Unemployment in Florida Summary

We hope this post on How to File for Unemployment in Florida was helpful.

If you have further questions about Unemployment Benefits in Florida, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Government benefits, including how to apply for food stamps in Florida