Unemployment Insurance Benefits in Florida


Federal unemployment benefits are available to each state and distributed by various agencies. In Florida, unemployment benefits claims are under the management of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Unemployed residents can claim unemployment benefits in Florida if they have lost their job for reasons that were not their fault. Claiming benefits for unemployment in Florida require continued eligibility on behalf of the applicant. Recently laid off or terminated employees can discover more about initial and continual eligibility to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits by downloading our comprehensive guide. To find out how to claim unemployment benefits and unemployment benefits extensions available in Florida, continue reading the topics below:

  • What is an unemployment benefits claim in Florida?
  • How to claim unemployment benefits in Florida
  • Florida’s Unemployment Benefits Extension Program

What is an unemployment benefits claim in Florida?

Often when inquiring about how to claim unemployment benefits in Florida, workers discover that the Reemployment Assistance (RA) program does not fully replace and match the lost wages. The amount of an unemployment benefits claim is a calculated portion of wages earned when the individual worked for the employer. When workers claim unemployment benefits, the DEO looks at the three highest months during the ‘base period’ and offer a percentage of that income. Unemployment Insurance (UI) assists work program participants financially following loss of employment but is not a substitute income. UI applicants can download our free guide to find out how officials calculate unemployment compensation.

Another thing to consider when claiming benefits for unemployment in Florida is a maximum award amount. While federal unemployment benefits are contingent on a percentage of income, the state sets a cap that applies to all applicants, regardless of previous income. Benefits are taxable income and UI enrollees can elect to have 10 percent withheld to cover the financial responsibility.

Additionally, the employer must have participated in the federal unemployment benefits program in order for the worker to request benefits. Small businesses with less than 15 employees do not have to offer this to employees, so it is good to know this before agreeing to work for such a company. Florida residents can find out if their employer pays into unemployment by asking the business, contacting the DEO or U.S. Department of Labor. Workers laid off from non-participating companies may still be eligible for other financial assistance programs in Florida.

How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Florida

In order to claim unemployment benefits in Florida an applicant must first apply to the Reemployment Assistance program. The online unemployment benefits claim form is the DEO’s preferred application method, as Florida is in the process of phasing out phone submissions and it will no longer be an option by the end of 2017. Claiming benefits for unemployment online is easy if the applicant has all of the necessary documentation already gathered. The process of how to claim unemployment benefits online about a half hour to an hour to complete.

The documentation needed to claim unemployment benefits in Florida generally encompasses information about the employer, employee and the employment specifics like duration and wages. Once DEO approves an unemployment benefits claim, officials will issue a PIN or case number that RA enrollees will use to request compensation payments. The approved claimant will login to his or her DEO account to claim unemployment benefit payment biweekly by completing the form questions and furnishing work search results. Failure to submit the form will result prevent DEO from issuing a UI payment to the claimant.

Florida’s Unemployment Benefits Extension Program

Regular unemployment benefits claims in Florida will last for up to 26 weeks, unless the worker finds a job. However, workers claiming benefits for unemployment while collecting part-time wages or seasonal earnings may have this period extended, as they are not collecting the full awarded amount. If a worker feels that he or she needs to claim unemployment benefits for longer than 26 weeks, he or she can petition the DEO for an extension. The Florida DEO may grant an unemployment benefits extension to UI claimants if the state’s unemployment rate is unusually high or there is a government-declared disaster, such as a hurricane. However, not every RA enrollee may be eligible for an unemployment benefits extension, or Extended Benefits, and DEO typically notifies entitled candidates. Those who are ineligible for extended UI compensation may qualify for other Florida-run financial and food assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

What Assistance Benefits Does the Department of Children and Families Provide?

Various assistance benefits are available to residents of Florida through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Families can receive benefits that allow them to buy nutritious groceries, save money on school lunch for their children and obtain temporary financial assistance. Additionally, petitioners who qualify for one assistance program are also typically eligible for other benefits in Florida. Find out how to qualify for benefits through Florida’s DCF and how to apply for them by downloading our comprehensive guide.

Who Can Receive Assistance Benefits in Florida?

Each assistance program offered through Florida’s Department of Children and Families has various eligibility qualifications that petitioners must meet in order to enroll. Household size and income are only a few factors that are typically taken into account. For more details on eligibility for Florida DCF assistance programs, download our guide.