Many workers are finding themselves in an economic crunch due to the pandemic’s impact on businesses. Here’s what you need to know to apply for benefits.
As Florida government officials continue to close down public gathering spots and to limit restaurants’ service and hours of operation to combat the spread of COVID-19, many workers –especially those in the tourism, hospitality and service industries– are finding themselves partially or totally unemployed. This puts a severe economic burden and an added strain on already frayed nerves.
However, many who have been partially or totally laid off through no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment benefits for up to three months.
Are You Eligible?
In order to be eligible for Florida unemployment benefits:
- You must have lost your job through no fault of your own. This means you must not have quit for personal reasons or been terminated for malicious misconduct. Poor job performance does not disqualify you.
- You must be totally or partially unemployed.
- You must have a minimum amount of wages earned in what is called the “base period.” This is the first four complete quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim.
- You must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work.
- The best way to find out if you are eligible is to apply.
How Are Your Benefits Determined?
Benefit amounts are determined after the claim has been filed and processed.
How Will You Receive Your Payments?
Payments are issued every 15 days. They can be issued by deposit to your Florida Reemployment Assistance Way2Go Debit Card account or by direct deposit to your bank account. You can change your payment method after your claim is filed.
How Do You Apply?
Applications must be done online only at Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website
- If you need assistance filing your claim or need access to a computer, visit your nearest One-Stop Career Center.
- You may also call the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s HOTLINE: 1 800-342-9909
Information You Need to Supply
- Your Social Security number
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers for each of your employers during the last 18 months
- Dates worked and total wages from each employer during the last 18 months
- Gross earnings (pre-tax wages) for the current week since 12:01 AM Sunday, your first week being claimed for unemployment
- ID —a driver’s license, state identification, voter registration number, or any other type of ID that can be used to verify your identity
- If a member of a labor union, the name and local number of your labor union hall
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, your Alien Registration Number and work permit expiration date
- If you were in the military within the last two years, your DD-214 form
- If you were a federal employee, your Form SF-50 or Form SF-8 and check stubs or W2 proof of earnings
- A check or deposit slip to have your benefits directly deposited into your bank account.
Many employers are directing their employees to start this process, but you’re entitled to file a claim on your own. In both cases, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will contact the employer to verify that you qualify.
Here are some easy ways to help you cope with the stress this pandemic has created on all of us.
You can also stay updated on Coronavirus cases in Florida here.