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Congress recently passed, and the president signed, the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill to help you and your families stay safe and secure during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you lost your job because of the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Note that if you applied for unemployment benefits before April 5 and you were deemed ineligible, you need to reapply. Click here for more updates from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Unemployment Assistance in the CARES Act
To help the average worker receive 100% of their full pay for four months under the CARES Act, Congress included the following provisions:

  • The CARES Act provides an additional $600 on top of the weekly maximum unemployment benefit ($275 in Florida) for four months. It also adds 13 weeks to the maximum time workers can receive benefits through Florida’s unemployment insurance program; and extends unemployment insurance to cover self-employed workers, gig-economy workers, independent contractors, and those who were unable to start a new job or contract due to COVID-19.
  • The CARES Act establishes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who are excluded from regular state unemployment insurance or who have exhausted their state UI benefits, up to 39 weeks of PUA are available.
  • The CARES Act also allows furloughed workers to stay on as employees and simultaneously receive Unemployment Insurance.

Florida Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
In order to be eligible for Florida unemployment benefits, you must meet several criteria:

  • You must have lost your job through no fault of your own, so you must not have quit for personal reasons or been terminated for malicious misconduct (poor job performance does not disqualify you); and
  • You must be totally or partially unemployed.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has waived the work search and work registration requirements for claimants through May 30, 2020.

Submitting a Claim

Prepare for Your Claim
Before beginning to file an unemployment claim, make sure to have several pieces of information at hand.

  • 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 — either 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
  • To have your benefits directly deposited into your bank account, a check or deposit slip

File Your Florida Unemployment Claim
Submit your claim with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

Within one week of becoming unemployed, you should begin the claims process to receive your reemployment assistance benefits. The date your application is finished determines when you will begin receiving benefits. Claims always begin the Sunday before the completion of the application.

The claims process should take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete. If you are applying online, your application must be completed within 72 hours of beginning, or you will have to restart the process.

The state of Florida’s unemployment systems is in the process of implementing many changes for the COVID-19 pandemic. The system is currently backlogged, and you may need to check back on their website. The DEO has also released downloadable applications here:

English Form
Spanish Form
Creole Form

You can mail completed applications to the address listed in the form.

Claimants can modify their filing effective date as far back as March 9; however, the federal benefits will only extend as far back as March 29. If a claimant would like to request to modify their claim filing effective date, they should visit Florida Jobs and select the link “Request to Modify Claim (Application) Filing Effective Date.”  The webpage can be found here.

Claimants are required to return to the reemployment system (CONNECT) every two weeks to request their benefits or “claim their weeks.”  In so doing, claimants confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that they are able and available for work. Answers to work search questions are still required to process your claim in the CONNECT system but will not impact benefit payments.

By completing this process, a claimant’s request for payment is submitted for their weeks of unemployment, even when the claim is pending for review.  For weeks beginning May 10, 2020, no payments can be made on a claim unless the claimant requests their benefits. Claimants can request a benefit payment for each week available.

If you need assistance filing your claim or need access to a computer, visit your nearest One-Stop Career Center. Find your nearest One-Stop Career Center: One-Stop Career Center Locations

Paper applications can also be picked up at 26 Miami-Dade Public Library locations. More information can be found here.

FedEx is offering free printing and mailing of Reemployment Assistance paper applications at over 100 storefronts across the state.

Once your claim is filed, you will receive a confirmation notice that your claim has been received. If your claim is accepted, it will take three to four weeks to receive your first payment. The first week--the week you filed your claim--is a "waiting week" during which no benefits are paid.

If you do not receive a confirmation notice, call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418.


Florida Reemployment Assistance Paper Application

View Unemployment Assistance COVID-19 & CARES Act FAQs

Unemployment Insurance - CARES Act FAQs

Families First COVID-19 Resources Toolkit