by Kailey Hagen | March 31, 2020
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Unemployment can provide some of the financial support you need in these challenging times.
Thousands of Florida workers are now spending their days sheltering in place as the nation works to slow the spread of COVID-19. But this can create some financial challenges for those who depend on a weekly paycheck. Unemployment won't replace your paychecks entirely, but it can help you get through the next few difficult months.
Here's everything you need to know about Florida unemployment benefits, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Florida residents must meet the following requirements to claim unemployment benefits:
Due to public health concerns, Florida workers do not have to fulfill the work-search requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida evaluates your past earnings during a base period. This is the first four of the last five complete quarters before you applied for unemployment. So if you apply in March, your base period is October 2018 to September 2019, and if you apply in April, it's January to December 2019.
You must have earned wages in at least two quarters during your base period and have earned at least $3,400 during your base period. Your total base period earnings must also be 1.5 times your earnings during your highest-earning quarter. So if you earned $2,000 in your highest-earning quarter, you must have earned at least $3,500 during your base period to qualify.
You can apply for unemployment benefits on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website. Have this information ready:
Once your account is set up, you must log in every two weeks to request your next benefit payments, even while your claim is still pending review.
Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the lower of:
So for example, if you earned $2,000 during your highest-earning quarter, you'd get $77 per week.
You can claim Florida unemployment benefits until you hit the lower of these limits:
However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 25 weeks.
Remember, you must also stop claiming unemployment if you find new employment.
You must make an appeal request within 20 calendar days of receiving your claim denial. You can submit your request online or via email, fax, or mail.
Florida unemployment benefits probably won't be a full substitute for your previous paychecks, but they can give you some income during these uncertain times. Apply now if you believe you qualify.
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