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File for Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment applications are filed and submitted through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) CONNECT system. All RA applications MUST be filed through this system, which is accessed through the DEO Website.
Unemployment Application and Initial Claim
File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process
CONNECT is accessible to everyone through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website, floridajobs.org, by clicking the login link for claimants on the homepage. Or you can go directly to the CONNECT system login by entering the following URL into your web browser: https://connect.myflorida.com/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX.
Upon entering the site, you will view a warning page about privacy. You must agree with the statement on this page before you continue on to the actual CONNECT login. After clicking the ‘next’ button, you can now choose to start a new claim or login to an existing claim.
After clicking the “File New Claim” link, you will be taken to an information page that gets you started. Here you can choose various links to read further information before you continue to the application. When ready, click the “Start the Reemployment Assistance Application” button. Read through the fraud details and information, agree to abide by the terms, and then click “next”. From here, the application process is easy. Make sure to read each page carefully before continuing on to the next. Double check to be sure that you have all of the information and necessary documents at hand to fully complete the application.
NOTE: If you applied or have an active claim during the previous year, log in with your Social Security number and PIN to either claim your bi-weekly benefits or “reopen” a claim with new employment information. Since you cannot collect more than the allotted $3,300 per benefits year, if you are re-opening a claim, the amount of benefits available to you are minus any previous benefit amounts collected throughout that claim year.
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Submitting Your Unemployment Application
There are five sections that you will need to complete in the RA application:
- Claimant Authentication-Initial Questions
- General Information
- Employment Information
- Review, Edit, and Submit
- Confirmation of Submission Page
Simply enter all required information as directed throughout the application. Follow all directives and be sure to check all information before moving to another section. You have the opportunity to review the entire application before officially submitting it to Reemployment Assistance department for review and eligibility determination.
Documents and Information Needed During Filing
You must supply true and accurate information on your RA application. Missing or incorrect information could result in denial or delayed processing time.
Before applying, be sure to have all of the following information gathered and at hand.
- Names and contact information for all employers from the previous 18 months.
- Dates worked (start and finish) and total earnings for each employer for the past 18 months.
- Gross wages earned (before taxes) for the current week beginning 21:01 AM on Sunday. This is extremely important, as this is the first week that you will be claiming for RA benefits (your Florida claim week).
- Driver’s license or state ID. If you do not have that available, a voter registration number, military ID, and other forms may be used to verify your identity.
- Social Security number.
- Name and phone number of your union (if you are a union member).
- Non-U.S. citizens must produce Alien Registration Numbers and worker’s permit expiration dates.
- A DD-214 form if you were enrolled in the military during the last two years.
- Federal employees must produce W-2s or other proof of earning, such as paystubs, and forms SF-50 or SF-8.
- Bank or checking account information if you will opt for direct deposit of your benefits.
When determining your gross income for the 18 months prior to applying, remember that you must report ALL income. This includes gratuities and tips, and any cash received for performing a service or duty outside of your usual occupation.
Claim Weekly Benefits
How to Claim Weekly Benefits
After you have completed the process of submitting your application for RA, you will gain access to the CONNECT system to claim your bi-weekly benefits and to manage your account. Through the CONNECT system, you can update information, track payments, submit claims, check progress, and much more.
Once approved for unemployment insurance benefits, you will file claims to collect your benefits biweekly through the CONNECT system. Each time you enter the system to claim your benefits, you will be asked a series of pre-qualifying claim questions – you will answer either yes or no to these questions.
During the process, you will also have to enter all of your job contacts that you made to meet the work search requirements for both weeks you are claiming.
Claim Denials or Discrepancies
When you file an unemployment claim, the RA department will review your work history over the previous 18-month period. From time to time, discrepancies could arise that the department will consider for adjudication. This means that an adjudicator will conduct a fact-finding to clarify any discrepancies in determining eligibility or disqualification.
Adjudication can delay benefit payments and could take up to six weeks to reach a conclusion. To avoid adjudication, it is imperative for you to report your entire work history, even if you only worked one day or one hour at a particular job.
Appeals Process for Denied Claims
If you are disqualified from claiming RA benefits, you can request an administrative appeals hearing. The hearing is overseen by a representative of the RA Office of Appeals, known as a referee. A request for an appeal must be presented within 20 calendar days after the determination date listed on your eligibility notification. When the 20th day falls on a weekend day or legal holiday, you must file for appeal the following business day.
If the department approves your application for RA benefits, a past employer may file an appeal for an administrative hearing within the same timeframe.
You should request an appeal online through the CONNECT system. However, if you chose to submit an appeal in writing by mail or fax, the official date of filing will be the postmark or fax date stamp.
NOTE: You must include your Social Security number and Claimant ID on all written correspondence.
Both parties will receive a Notice of Hearing letter by mail informing you of the date and time of hearing. It will advise you if the hearing is in person or by phone. Many hearings that are easily resolved in the eyes of the department are held by conference call or three-way calling.
Should you wish to contest your final appeal decision, you can pursue the matter further by requesting a review of the hearing by the RA Appeals Commission. You must submit requests for review within 20 calendar days of the RA Referee's determination.
Office of Appeals Contact Information
MSC 347, Caldwell Building
107 East Madison Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-4143
RA Appeals Commission Mailing Address
Ste. 101, Rhyne Building
2740 Centerview Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399-4151
Fax: (850) 488-2123
NOTE: After processing your application, if you are deemed eligible for benefits you must serve what the DEO considers a “Non-Payable Waiting Week”. This is the first week of your partial or complete separation from work that you claimed (your claim week) when filing. If you meet the qualifications for unemployment, you will not receive benefits for the first week you claim (waiting week) as mandated by the state of Florida.