Reemployment Assistance (Unemployment Benefits)

Last Modified: 06/16/2021

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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.

This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). You can find them online at floridajobs.org

Read below for more information, and if you feel that your Reemployment Assistance was unfairly denied, reduced, or terminated, contact CLSMF.

If you are filing for Reemployment Assistance for reasons related to the COVID–19 pandemic, some rules and restrictions may be different. Visit the “Unemployment Related to COVID-19” section of our Coronavirus Resources Page for more details.

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.”

There are a number of situations that might affect whether you can receive, or continue to receive, Reemployment Assistance benefits.

Things like quitting your job without a reason (“good cause”) or being fired because of your own misconduct could disqualify you from benefits. You also need to be monetarily eligible, meaning you have worked enough in the recent past to qualify.

Once you start getting your benefits, they can get cut off for things like not being able and available to work or failing to show up at a mandatory reemployment services appointment.

Some jobs simply do not qualify for Reemployment Assistance, such as children under 21 years old who have been working for their parents or inmates who have been laboring under a work release program.

To see a full list of everything that might affect whether you qualify for Reemployment Assistance, read this DEO document: Reasons for State or Federal Reemployment Assistance Ineligibility.

While generally ineligible, independent contractors may be able to collect benefits if they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the “Unemployment Related to COVID-19” section of our Coronavirus Resources Page for more details.

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.

If your employment or reemployment has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government’s CARES Act has outlined special Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) guidelines and other resources to help your situation.

Read the DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide—Covid-19 or visit the “Unemployment Related to COVID-19” section of our Coronavirus Resources Page for more information.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

To make the process as easy as possible, you will want to be sure that you have all of the necessary info on hand before you fill out your application.

Have as many of these things ready as possible:

  • Social Security number;
  • Driver’s License or State ID number;
  • Employment information (for each employer) for the last 18 months;
  • Employer identification number, also known as FEIN number, if available (This number can be found on your W2 or 1099 tax form.);
  • Employer name (name on pay stub), address, and phone number;
  • First and last day of work;
  • Gross earnings (before taxes) covering the last 18 months; and
  • Reason for separation.

There may be some additional information you will need to have, depending on your circumstances:

  • If you are not a U.S. Citizen, have your Alien Registration Number or other work authorization form.
  • If you are a military employee, have a copy of your DD-214 Member 4. (If you do not have a Member 4, a copy of your Member 2-7 may be used.)
  • If you are a Federal employee, have your SF-8 or SF-50 ready.
  • Union members will want to have their union name, hall number, and phone number on hand.

If you are unable to get some of the above information, you can still apply for benefits. Missing information may cause delays, but it won’t disqualify you from submitting a claim.

You cannot make changes to your applications once it has been submitted, so make sure all of the information you enter is correct. If you need to make a correction, call the Florida Reemployment Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759) for assistance.

You can file a new claim for Reemployment Assistance through the DEO’s new, mobile-friendly website using your computer, tablet, or smartphone: http://floridajobs.org/raapplication

The website for new claims operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have already filed a claim and created an account through the FloridaJobs CONNECT system, you will need to log in there for any further actions. CONNECT is available from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday. The CONNECT Reemployment Assistance system may be temporarily offline throughout the night and weekends.

You can get help with your application over the phone by calling the Department of Economic Opportunity at 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759).

Paper applications generally take more time to process, so the DEO always recommends that you file online if possible.

If you are unable to complete the online application for some reason, there are other ways you can file.

There is a fillable form on the FloridaJobs website where you can type in your information, print it out, and mail it in.

  • The form is available here: English, Spanish, or Creole.
  • Mail it to:
    Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
    P.O. Box 5350
    Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

If you do not have internet access to complete the fillable form or need some extra help filling it out:

  • Visit your local public library, where library staff can help you access the internet and complete your form; or
  • Contact your local CareerSource center. CareerSource staff can walk you through the application process over the phone or help you fill out a paper application in person. Find contact information and hours of operation for your local CareerSource center here: https://careersourceflorida.com/your-local-team/

You can get help with your application over the phone by calling the Department of Economic Opportunity at 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759).

You cannot make changes to your applications once it has been submitted. If you need to make a correction, call the Florida Reemployment Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759) for assistance.

Once your application is processed, your information will be uploaded to 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 Determination, and where you can request benefit payments. CONNECT is available from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday. The CONNECT Reemployment Assistance system may be temporarily offline throughout the night and weekends.

The CONNECT system regularly shuts down for maintenance to process and distribute payments. You may be redirected to a virtual waiting room if there are a large number of people trying to access the system at the same time.

The DEO will let you know when your claim has been uploaded to CONNECT. This is usually within a week for online applications, but may take longer for paper applications. If you applied through the FloridaJobs website or by paper application, you will be notified by mail or email and given a temporary PIN so that you can create a CONNECT account and check the status of your claim. If you applied directly through CONNECT, your account will be updated to show that your application has been submitted.

The Florida DEO has created a video that will walk you through how to navigate your CONNECT account inbox, which you can view HERE.

The Department of Economic Opportunity may ask for some additional information or need to clarify the information you have already submitted. Check your CONNECT account for updates often and respond to any requests for information as soon as possible.

After your application has been fully reviewed, a Monetary Determination Notice will be sent to your CONNECT account. The Monetary Determination Notice 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 are eligible to 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.

Workforce registration is a requirement for Reemployment Assistance, so you will need to create a profile with Employ Florida. You will also be asked to provide “work search contacts” to prove that you have been actively seeking a new job. You will need to enter information such as business names, dates of contact, the results of the search, etc. You need 5 of these contacts for every week you claim assistance. You may get a notification in the mail that you have been selected for a mandatory appointment with your local CareerSource office, which you must attend if you don’t want to risk having your benefits delayed or denied.

(The workforce registration requirement does not apply to people who filed claims between March 15, 2020 and April 24, 2021, and work search contacts are not required to claim weeks that fall between those dates. Read the DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide—Covid-19 or visit the “Unemployment Related to COVID-19” section of our Coronavirus Resources Page for more information.)

You have the choice of receiving your payments through direct deposit into your bank account or on a DEO-issued debit card (the Way2Go card). Your Way2Go card will be mailed to you once your first payment has been approved. Way2Go cards have certain fees that you will want to be aware of so that you don’t accidentally end up with a negative balance. Visit www.goprogram.com to see all of the Way2Go card’s additional fees and requirements.

For more information on how this process works and how your benefit amounts are determined, visit the FloridaJobs.org Frequently Asked Questions page.

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.

You may file:

  • Online: Through CONNECT
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail: Office of Appeals
    P.O. Box 5250,
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-5250
  • Fax: 1-850-617-6504

You will be notified once a hearing date has been set for your appeal. Hearings are generally held over the phone, and the appeals referee assigned to your case will explain all of the hearing procedures, question any witnesses and gather facts, and make a decision. Once they have made their decision, they will inform you whether it affirms, reverses, or modifies the initial determination.

If your Monetary Determination Notice does not accurately reflect your wages or you need to add additional wages to be considered, you can request a Monetary Reconsideration rather than filing an 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?

Is your unemployment the result of a government-recognized emergency or disaster, such as the COVID-19 pandemic?

Next Steps

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