Reemployment Assistance (Unemployment Benefits)
Reemployment Assistance is simply the current name for what used to be known as “unemployment compensation,” or what people mean when they say they have received “unemployment pay.”
The purpose of Reemployment Assistance benefits is to give temporary financial relief to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, as long as they meet Florida’s eligibility requirements.
Read below for more information, and if you feel that your Reemployment Assistance was unfairly denied, reduced, or terminated, contact CLSMF.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must have worked in Florida during the past 12 to 18 months and have earned a minimum amount of wages, as determined by Florida’s guidelines.
You must be able to work and be available to work if you want to collect benefits.
Finally, you must successfully complete an “Initial Skills Review” and Work Register in order to receive benefits.
Generally, if you have been fired from a job you are entitled to Reemployment Assistance benefits, unless you were terminated due to misconduct. Misconduct is when an employee does something that goes against their employer’s conduct or working policies. It may not even be intentional. Misconduct does not usually include poor job performance or a one-time incident of poor judgment.
If you have quit a job, you can get Reemployment Assistance as long as you can prove that you quit for a “good cause attributable to your employer.” This includes situations where your former boss substantially changed the terms of employment, such as the type of work demanded of you, the rate of pay you received, or the number of hours expected from you. If you have a health problem, you might not be required to prove “good cause attributable to your employer.”
Florida recently made it possible for domestic violence survivors who voluntarily quit their jobs to be awarded Reemployment Assistance benefits. In general, applicants must present a court injunction, protective order, or other evidence that “reasonably proves” domestic violence occurred.
Survivors of domestic violence must try to keep their employment and show that they are likely to be the victim of a “future act of domestic violence.” They must also meet the other eligibility requirements.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, visit the CLSMF page on Violence Protection to learn your rights. If you need immediate protection from domestic violence, contact the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or visit them online.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
Reemployment assistance applications should be submitted online and can be found at http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/apply-for-benefits.
As part of the application process, you’ll need to create an account in the FloridaJobs.org CONNECT system. This account is where you will make a personal profile that lists all of the required information, where you can get your notice of Notice of Determination, and where you can request benefit payments.
The Notice of Determination lets you know how much money you are eligible to receive — both your weekly payment amount and the total payment amount. Your benefits are taxed, and your weekly withholdings and year-end tax form (1099-G) can be viewed or requested through the CONNECT system.
How much money you receive is based on your recent wages, specifically how much money you made during the first four of the last five calendar quarters.
To receive your benefits you must use CONNECT to “request benefit payments” (“claim your weeks”). You must request benefit payments within 7 days of the week you are claiming. You will be asked to provide “work search contacts,” to prove that you have been actively seeking reemployment. You will need to enter information such as business names, dates of contact, the results of the search, etc.
Your payments will be issued to you on a debit card (the Way2Go card). Your Way2Go card will be mailed to you once the first payment has been approved for you.
If your claim is denied for any reason, you will only have twenty (20) days from the date of the decision to file an appeal. You can file an appeal online or you can submit a written appeal following the instructions on the Notice of Determination. It is important that you continue to request your benefits while your appeal is pending. Failure to claim your weeks could result in a forfeiture (loss) of benefits even if you eventually win your appeal.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING ACTION?
How and why did you leave your last job?
Is there anything that would disqualify you from receiving benefits?
Does your former employer have a conflicting story about how or why you left?
Have you worked long enough to qualify for assistance?
Are you willing and able to actively look for new work?