How to File for Unemployment in Florida
To qualify for unemployment in the State of Florida, you must pass two eligibility determination tests. First, you must have sufficient work and earnings. Second you must have been separated from your employer through no fault of your own. The second prong is evaluated on a case by case basis but usually you cannot receive unemployment if you quit your job. Additionally, the claimant must be available and able to work AND actively seeking work. You may be required to provide proof that you are looking for work at nay time during the process.
What constitutes sufficient work and earnings?
- You must have received earnings in at last two of the quarters in the base period
- Have a total base period wages of at least 1 1/2 times the wages in the quarter with the highest earnings
- Have at least $3400 total earnings in the base period
How and where do I apply?
All you will need to apply is your personal information, including social security number, and employer information. Once you have submitted the initial application, all income received during the base period should show on your wage transcript. NOTE: Both the Internet and telephone system are available in English, Spanish and Creole.
- You can apply on the Internet at www.fluidnow.com 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. If you do not have access to a computer, you may apply using the computers at the One Stop Career Centers located throughout Florida
- You can apply via telephone at 1800-204-2418, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- You can apply by mail. Booklets and forms for applying via mail are available at all Florida One Stop Career Centers. A list of One Stops can be found at http://www.floridajobs.org/onestop/onestopdir/index.htm.
How much will I qualify for if I am approved for unemployment?
How much you will receive depends on how much you earned during your base period,. Your base period is the first four of the last five quarters. For instance, if you apply on February 5th, 2010, your base period will be from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009. Then take the quarter in your base period where you had the most earnings and divide that amount by 26. That will be your benefits amount. Note, however, that the minimum weekly benefit amount is $32 and the maximum amount is $275.
How do I claim my weeks once I have been approved?
First, understand that there is a mandatory waiting period of one week before benefits begin so while you need to claim that first week, you will not be paid for it. Once approved, you will be assigned either Monday or Tuesday to claim your weeks and you must do so every two weeks. You can claim your weeks via the Internet at www.fluidnow.com or via telephone at 1-800-204-2418. The system is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
When will I get my first payment, how often will I be paid and how am I paid?
Remember that there is a one week waiting period before payments begin. Additionally, setting up your account and processing your first payment make take as long as one month. After your initial payment, you should be paid on a regular schedule. Payments are made every two weeks based on your claim that you have filed. You are paid by direct deposit to your bank account or by a check mailed to your mailing address.
Can I receive an extension if I exhaust my original claim?
If you exhaust all of your benefits prior to the end of your “benefit year”, an emergency benefit claim will be established automatically and a determination letter sent to you. On your emergency benefit claim you will be paid your current weekly benefit amount and a maximum payable amount of 80% of the original Maximum Available Credits on your current claim.
What can I do if I am denied or if I don’t agree with a decision made in my case?
You can file and appeal on the Internet at www.fluidnow.com/appeals or in writing. The booklets, forms and instructions to apply in writing can be found at the One Stop Career Centers.
If I return to work, how do I end my unemployment benefits?
If you return to work, simply report those earnings when you claim your weeks. If your earnings are such that you no longer qualify for unemployment benefits, your benefits will automatically cease.
Insider Tip: Unlike the unemployment offices of yesterday, or possible other states, the One Stop Career Centers in Florida are a wonderful resource for anyone seeking career guidance. Your local One Stop has a wealth of resources for job hunters and are very knowledgeable about training and employment programs as well as unemployment claims. Make sure you call first though as an appointment may be necessary.