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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
Before successfully claiming unemployment benefits in Florida, there are a number of prequalifying conditions you must meet. The work eligibility criteria and wage eligibility criteria listed below must be met in order to claim unemployment benefits.
Work Eligibility Criteria
- The reason for loss of employment cannot be of your own volition, meaning you cannot quit your job for personal reasons—your employment cannot be terminated because of negative disobediences, conscious disregard for your employer, violating reasonable standards of behavior in the workplace. Keep in mind that lack of adequate performance does not automatically disqualify you from eligibility.
- You cannot currently be earning any full-time income. You must work less than 30 hours per week (partial unemployment), or be completely out of work at the time you file for unemployment.
- You must proactively seek reemployment and be available and capable of working any legitimate job offer. Finding and coordinating adequate child care, if you have children, in order to work is also necessary.
Wages Eligibility Criteria
Determining monetary eligibility for RA benefits in Florida is based on calculating whether you have earned sufficient wages during the first four of the previous five calendar quarters—this time is your base period.
When filing an unemployment claim, you must meet the following wage eligibility criteria:
- Gross salary earning must be more than 1.5 times the earnings of your highest earned wages quarter.
- Earned a minimum of $3,400 during the entire base period.
- Earned wages in two out of the four covered quarters.
Example: If your highest earning quarter gross wages was $5,500, then your earnings must total $8,250 over the entire calendar base period.
While these criteria can give you a general idea of your qualifications for RA benefits, the DEO suggests that filing an unemployment application is the most accurate way to determine if you will qualify for benefits and to find out how much compensation you will receive.
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Unemployment Availability Limits
Once qualified for unemployment benefits, Florida residents can receive RA benefits for up to 12 weeks after the original filing for unemployment, or until reestablishing full-time employment. The first week of unemployment begins to count on the Sunday of the week in which you file for unemployment, otherwise known as your initial claim week. Once you file the initial claim, you will continue to claim weeks until your 12 weeks of benefits expires, or you become fully employed. Florida claim weeks run from Sunday to Saturday.
NOTE: As of January 1, 2016, the maximum limit to collect RA benefits during a claim year is 12 weeks. This applies to new claimants only. Individuals with existing accounts are not affected. The maximum benefit amount of $275 per week remains unchanged.
It is possible to collect partial unemployment benefits if you are currently employed. This applies when an employer cuts full-time working hours to less than 80% of your typical hours per week. This means that if your work-week is typically 40 hours, you can work up to 32 hours and may still be eligible for benefits. Also, if you earn less than $275 per week, you may be eligible.
If you are currently receiving benefits and find part-time employment, you must continue actively seeking a full-time position. This applies if your RA claim is based on full-time wages. Failing to seek full-time reemployment may result in a loss of benefits and ineligibility of future claims.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and Extended Benefits (EB) are discontinued and no longer available as of December 29, 2012. EB was based on the high state unemployment rate. When the rate improved in 2011-2012, the state of Florida discontinued both programs.