[Update] While Florida has started paying all the enhanced unemployment payments it is well behind in processing and making retroactive payments. This is a known issue as their systems are having several technical glitches and struggling to handle the volume of claims. However the good news, per the many comments from fellow Floridians below, is that some people are getting their pandemic unemployment payments on a more regular basis. But it is also clear that many more are still waiting or unable to get clarity around the intermittent payment of their benefits or when they will see their expected benefits. Also PUA and PEUC claim and extensions processing (details below) has picked up and been streamlined – though numerous issues being reporting around continuing claims.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) manages the states’ Reemployment Assistance benefits program, formerly known as unemployment compensation.
Extra $300 Unemployment under Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program
FEMA has approved Florida’s application for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding which will provide an additional $300 per week to Floridians who are unemployed due to COVID-19. Payments have started from September 8th for claimants whose current weekly benefit amount (WBA), prior to taxes and other deductions, is at least $100 will receive the additional $300 per week retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020. If you are already receiving unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything additional to qualify for this payment at this time. Continue to certify bi-weekly as you normally would.
Update : Florida said on Wednesday that it will pay out only four weeks of additional jobless aid, rather than the six weeks provided under the program. FEMA which is overseeing the effort, however has said last week it would provide six weeks of funding, as it is to other states that are still processing payments. Because Florida doesn’t have enough workers who earn at least $100 in state unemployment aid (a requirement of LWA program) to qualify the FL DEO has said they won’t be applying for the remaining 2 weeks of LWA funding available.
The new Lost Wages program however does cut the federal benefit ($600 FPUC) in half since the state cannot afford to boost the benefit by the additional $100 state contribution requested by Trump.
Based on the many comments below, which have lots of questions and helpful suggestions (thanks to all those helping answer) here is some updated information on the enhanced benefits currently being paid in Florida. See the original details and details to file a claim in the updates below.
- The $600 FPUC payment is payable until the week ending July 25, 2020 to individuals who are collecting regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
- To modify the date of your claim – in order to get retroactive/back-pay for eligible weeks – must be made by calling the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service center at 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759 and choose option 5).
- Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have a Reemployment Assistance claim that expired after July 1, 2019, will also have to re-apply. Through PEUC, Floridians may be eligible for up to $275, in addition to the $600 through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), in weekly benefits. All claimants participating in PEUC will still be required to claim weeks on a biweekly basis (via Connect), certifying that they remain unemployed and are able and available for work during the weeks they are receiving PEUC.
- Make sure action DEO request around Quarter Change. If you are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the DEO must confirm that you are ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance (regular state UI) benefits quarterly. This routine task, often referred to as the Quarter Change, will determine if you could now be eligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits. If you are, you will receive a link to submit an application for state Reemployment Assistance benefits in your CONNECT account. Otherwise the DEO will send you a Quarter Change Questionnaire to confirm/continue eligibility for PUA benefits.
- Getting in touch with someone at the DEO is still a challenge. You can see contact options here, but if you cannot get through try contacting them via Social media (twitter or facebook). You can also complete the Reemployment Assistance contact form found here. See other options or suggestions in the comments below.
- How long will it take to get paid my benefits? Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, it took three to four weeks (assuming there were no issues with the claim) to process a claim. Given the surge in claimant volumes you can expect it to take at least 4 weeks to get your claim processed and payment in your bank account or debit card.
Are Reemployment Assistance benefits retroactive to the day I lost my job?
If you were not able to submit your application because you were prevented from doing so or because of system issues, and you would like to request to modify your claim filing effective date, you should call the Reemployment Assistance customer service center at 833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759). If eligible, your claim may be backdated to the date you first attempted to file your application. The effective date of PUA claims are made retroactive in the CONNECT system.
Thousands of Floridians have recently stopped getting $600 federal unemployment payments; state blames ‘technology concerns and errors with implementing CARES provisions. The DEO has blamed technology issues/concerns and said the department is correcting the issue. Affected workers should start receiving payments soon. Two main issues are causing delays. One is that some workers were mistakenly not issued federal payments for their “waiting week” – which was actually waived under the CARES act for the extra unemployment payments. The other issue is around backdated payments which were excluded from recent payment files for the federal payments.
CARES Act Unemployment Compensation Enhancements for Coronavirus / COVID-19 Relief
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, expands Reemployment Assistance benefits. Benefits will be paid from the date they became eligible under the CARES Act. This now covers individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, certain non-profit employees and gig economy workers, as well as to individuals working part-time, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits under state or federal law or PEUC. Those who apply for Reemployment Assistance whose employment was negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 will follow the same application, review and payment process as all applicants for Reemployment Assistance in Florida. Programs included in the CARES Act are:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – provides an additional $600 per week to any individual eligible under Florida law for Reemployment Assistance. This benefit is available for weeks claimed March 29, 2020 – July 31, 2020 in addition to the funds owed under Florida law to individuals. Floridians who received their $600 check will receive their state benefits for Reemployment Assistance via direct deposit or prepaid debit card based on their selection made. [Paid from April 12th, retroactive to March 29th]
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides up to $275 in benefits per week to those not ordinarily eligible for Reemployment Assistance. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular Reemployment Assistance benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. Floridians will need to apply for PEUC benefits once the balance of their current claim is exhausted. Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have a Reemployment Assistance claim that expired after July 1, 2019, will also be able to apply.
Through PEUC, Floridians may be eligible for up to $275, in addition to the $600 through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), in weekly benefits. This brings the maximum unemployment benefit to $875 p/week for eligible recipients.
All claimants participating in PEUC will still be required to claim weeks on a biweekly basis, certifying that they remain unemployed and are able and available for work during the weeks they are receiving PEUC. The first week a claimant can be eligible for this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last payable week is the week ending December 26, 2020.
- To comply with federal law, weeks beginning May 10, 2020, claimants for all Reemployment Assistance programs, including state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits or “claim their weeks.” In doing so, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that they are able and available for work should it be offered. If claimants, currently receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits, no longer wish to receive benefits, they do not need to claim their weeks, as payments will stop processing if weeks stop being claimed.
Unemployed Floridians who have exhausted their state Reemployment benefits will be notified with the next steps for PEUC.
- Click here for PEUC Application Process.
- Click here for PEUC Frequently Asked Questions.
- Click here for COVID-19 Employment Scenarios.
Unemployment is subject to federal withholding taxes. DEO will gather facts and determine whether you qualify. See more FAQs here
One readers experience with the DEO (Florida) where the system is setup for bi-weekly verification but payments are sent weekly.
It took over a month before I started received any correspondence from DEO. I submitted an application on 4/14, but my employer also submitted a claim on 4/21. Since there were duplicate applications, my employer’s application was accepted over mine and the DEO system didn’t merge info. My employer didn’t have my personal email or direct deposit info, so all of my initial communications were sent from DEO via standard/snail mail.
On 5/19, the DEO packet of information I received included a Way2Go Debit card with 2 week payments (covering weeks ending 5/2 & 5/9), temp pin information to logon to CONNECT. In a separate envelope, I received the $600 check as part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit. You won’t see anything in the CONNECT system about FPUC payments — they are mutually exclusive.
More details regarding bi-weekly verification:
After I finally got into the CONNECT system, the first thing I saw was a directive to complete verification for next payment (week 5/10 – 5/16). It took several attempts to verify. I got rather desperate, so I gave up using Chrome and switched to Firefox (thinking it was a browser issue). It may or may not have been the browser, but firefox went through on the first try. Anyway, the verification form has several pages with many questions regarding work activity that I thought was odd, but we are all in different circumstances.
Potential issues when completing bi-weekly verification:
After finally completing, I still received a message within the “Payment Request Status” section of the home page: Pending issue(s) have been identified on your Claim Payment will be delayed until the pending issue(s) is resolved. Once I clicked the link to identify the issue, I was presented with additional questions to verify that my unemployment is a result of COVID-19. Once completed again, the issue message was still there, but I presumed that the system just needed to cycle. I logged back in the next day, the system was updated to show my 5/22 payment was processed. As mentioned above, I received my unemployment direct deposited on 5/23. Oddly, the $600 FPUC payment was also received on 5/23 but in the mail in form of a check.
Filing a Claim
All claims should be filed online using CONNECT. Florida’s DEO also has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available at www.FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication
DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available here. For a step by step guide on how to apply read more here. For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions, please click here.
If you have never filed in Florida before, use the “File a New Claim” link to start your application and create a profile. If you have filed previously, please log in using your Social Security number and PIN. If you no longer have your PIN, select the “Forgot PIN” button to regain access to your account. Before filing, make sure you have the following information available:
- 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
- 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 paystub
- 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
By Phone – Reemployment Assistance Hotline 1-833-FL-APPLY (or 1-833-352-7759)
Working Part Time and Getting Unemployment Benefits
In Florida you can get regular state UI while working part time under the Short-Time Compensation program. This program is a voluntary employer program designed to help employers maintain their staff by reducing the weekly working hours during temporary slowdowns instead of temporarily laying off employees. If your employer establishes a Short-Time Compensation Plan and you meet the qualifications to file an reemployment assistance claim in the state of Florida, you will receive a partial reemployment check to supplement your reduced paycheck.
– You must be a full-time employee, (not part-time or seasonal) with a standard number of hours worked each week (excluding overtime).
– You must meet all of the normal requirements to establish a Florida reemployment claim and you must provide the DEO with any necessary information or documentation.
– While on the Short-Time Compensation program you must work and/or receive paid leave for ALL of the hours that your employer has you scheduled to work in order to receive Short-Time Compensation Benefits for a week.
– Every two weeks you will be required to report your hours worked, plus any hours of paid leave from your Short-Time Compensation employer and if you have a part-time job, earnings from that part-time job.
– See further details here.