What are the general eligibility requirements to receive unemployment assistance benefits?

By | March 8, 2013
  1. Monetary EligibilitybenefitsapplicationTo establish a monetarily eligible unemployment (reemployment) assistance claim, a person must have worked and earned wages during a specified period of time called the “base period.”
    1. The Base Period:The base period is the first four quarters of the previous five completed quarters prior to filing a claim. The base period changes every three months at the beginning of each new quarter starting in January, April, July and October.
    2. For example, claims filed during April, May and June, the base period is January 1 through December 31.
      Base Period Chart
      Year PrecedingPrior year Prior Year Current Year
      JulyAug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec. Jan.Feb.March AprilMayJune JulyAug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec. Jan.Feb.March AprilMayJune JulyAug.Sept. Oct.Nov.Dec.
      Base Period (Oct. 1 – Sept. 30) Lagquarter Claim Filed
      Base Period (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) Lag quarter Claim Filed
      Base Period (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31) Lag quarter Claim Filed
      Base Period (July 1 – June 30) Lag quarter Claim Filed
    3. To qualify monetarily, a person must:
    • Have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters in the base period;
    • Have total base period wages of at least 1-1/2 times the wages in the quarter having the highest earnings;
    • Have at least $3,400 total wages in the base period.

This calculation is automatically done at the time you file your claim.

  • Calculation of the Weekly Benefit Amount:

To calculate the weekly benefit amount, use the quarter in the base period with the highest earnings and divide the earnings by 26. This number is your weekly benefit amount. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $32 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $275.

  1. Calculation of the Maximum Available Credits:

To calculate your maximum available credits, you divide your total base period wages as shown on your Wage Transcript and Determination by four. This number is the amount you have available to receive providing you meet all other eligibility requirements. The total amount of available credits can range from a minimum of $850 to a maximum of $7150. You have a one-year period from the effective date of your claim to use your Available Credits.  Once the benefits have been exhausted, you cannot file a new claim until after your benefit year-end date (BYE).  However, if Extended Benefits are available, you may be entitled to additional credits.

  1. Non-Monetary EligibilityOnce your claim is determined to be monetarily eligible and you have claimed weeks, your non-monetary eligibility must be determined before any benefits will be paid to you.

The information below is only meant to provide general guidelines.  The agency will obtain the necessary information and provide a written determination in accordance with the Florida Reemployment Assistance Law in Florida Statutes, Chapter 443.  For more information on the Adjudication process, click here.

  1. Job Separation Issues:In order to receive benefits, you must have been separated from your job through no fault of your own.  After your monetary determination is issued, then the reason for separation from the last employer must be reviewed to determine if you are eligible for benefits. If you have not earned 17 times your weekly benefit amount with your last employer, the reason for separation from your next-to-the-last employer may also affect your eligibility for benefits.
    1. Discharge/FiredYou may be eligible for benefits even if you were fired, provided you were not discharged for misconduct.  Misconduct is now defined as demonstrating conscious disregard of an employer’s interests and found to be a deliberate violation of the reasonable standards or behavior which the employer expects of an employee, and may include activities that did not occur at the workplace or during working hours.  Examples of misconduct which can result in a denial of benefits include:
      • Chronic absenteeism or tardiness;
      • Willful and deliberate violation of a standard or regulation which would jeopardize the employer’s Florida license or certification;
      • Violation of an employer’s rules under certain circumstances.

      Inefficiency, unsatisfactory job performance, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not deemed to be “misconduct” within the meaning of the law, so any of these reasons would not necessarily disqualify you from receiving benefits.

    2. Voluntary QuitA voluntary quit is when you took the first step in leaving your job.  For example, you quit due to personal reasons, accept other work, relocate, care for a family member, distance to work, unhappy with the job, health issues, etc.  If you voluntarily quit, you will be disqualified unless you can provide evidence to support a finding you had good cause for leaving. The law provides that good cause may only consist of:
      • a cause attributable to the employer
      • illness or disability of the person filing the unemployment claim
      • recall by your permanent employer within six calendar months of a temporary termination
      • the military transfer of a spouse.
  2. Other Eligibility IssuesYou must be able to work, be available for work and actively seeking employment to be eligible for benefits.  You cannot refuse a suitable job offer from a prospective employer or from a referral to a suitable job supplied by the One-Stop Career Center.
    1. Able and Available for Work:Agency regulations provide that to be considered available for work you must actively seek work in a manner customary to the occupation in which you are seeking. You must not have any restrictions that lessen the chance of your becoming re-employed at the earliest possible time.
    2. Work Search:You are required to keep a record of your work search contacts while receiving reemployment Assistance benefits.  Effective August 1, 2011, you are required on a weekly basis to make contact with five prospective employers and provide this information via the internet during your bi-weekly certification for benefits.  If you are not able to make at least five employer contacts in a week, meeting with a representative at your local One-Stop Career Center for reemployment services may satisfy this requirement for that week.Individuals’ claim weeks of unemployment on a bi-weekly schedule and answer questions concerning their availability for work.
    3. Eligibility Reviews:Periodically during the claim series, an eligibility review notice, DEO Form UCB-231 is sent to the claimants concerning continued eligibility. You must complete the form and return it to the claims-taking hub address indicated on the form. When you submit the completed form, you must also include your Form DEO-UC 20A which lists your job contacts. This form will be reviewed by agency personnel and if additional information is needed you will be contacted.
    4. Initial Skills Review:To receive benefits, you are required to complete an initial skills review comprised of three modules designed to measure your job skill levels. This information will then be used by your Regional Workforce Board to assist in developing a plan for workforce development in your region of the state. The completion of this review does not in any way affect the outcome of other potential issues that may be affecting your claim.
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