Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in Florida

Eligibility for unemployment in Florida is an issue of concern to many residents and is not always well understood. Workers wondering, “What are the requirements to get unemployment?” will discover that the answer involves multiple conditions. Applicants must meet initial eligibility criteria to be awarded benefits and then abide by additional conditions to remain eligible for unemployment support. Unemployment insurance eligibility is handled by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity’s Office of Reemployment Assistance Program. As its title suggests, the program is strictly focused on supporting residents’ efforts to secure new and suitable full-time employment. All program qualifications for unemployment are intended and designed to align with this goal. Taking the time to understand the Reemployment Assistance Program’s policies and processes can lead workers to improved decision marking and better planning in their educational and employment careers.

Who qualifies for unemployment in Florida?

Unemployed Florida workers questioning how to qualify for unemployment will find that eligibility for EDD is governed by a series of factors. In keeping with the federal unemployment insurance’s primary purpose, reemployment assistance serves as a short-term financial support that helps protect and enable unemployed Florida workers while they search for a secure new and stable full-time employment. Eligibility for unemployment benefits is restricted to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. Unemployed workers must also meet financial eligibility requirements to include minimum earned income limits to be eligible to receive benefits payments after the application process.

Some unemployment eligibility terms apply when assessing an applicant’s eligibility for benefits. To qualify for unemployment, applicants are required to present themselves at a designated One-Stop Career Center for services unless they are not Florida residents, temporarily or cyclically unemployed (such as some education or food service workers in seasonal positions) or members of a Union meeting certain employment conditions. To meet the requirements to get unemployment, applicants must then submit to an approved skills review to ensure they meet minimum competency standards in essential workplace skill sets. To meet other qualifications for unemployment, applicants must be determined to be physically and mentally capable of working. They must also be willing and able to provide the basic information and supporting documentation required to complete the application process upon request and in a timely manner.

Eligibility for unemployment is not a one-time decision. Once an applicant has been awarded and begun to receive unemployment insurance benefits, he or she must comply with all rules and regulations to remain eligible for ongoing assistance. Common examples of continuing requirements to get unemployment include filing benefits claims correctly and on time and attending and completing assigned reemployment courses, workshops or other educational programming. Recipients must cooperate to maintain their unemployment eligibility status while receiving benefits payments. In order to comply with these requirements, recipients must establish an account online in the Employ Florida Marketplace. Workers’ Employ Florida accounts may be vital to meeting another qualification for unemployment eligibility, which is to contact a minimum of five potential employers weekly and then provide essential documentation of those contacts to the Reemployment Assistance Program. This list must include the name and contact information of each person they engaged with as part of their continuing job search activities.

In certain special cases, the employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they experience a reduction in work hours through the Reemployment Assistance Program outside of the typical standards and regulatory requirements. The employer and the Reemployment Assistance Program can negotiate short-term arrangements in advance on behalf of the affected employees. To learn more about determining eligibility for unemployment insurance, applicants can download our comprehensive guide to unemployment here.

Who does not qualify for unemployment benefits in Florida?

Applicants may not succeed in qualifying for unemployment insurance eligibility if they cannot demonstrate that they have been part of the workforce for an adequate amount of time to earn the minimum required amount of earned income. Eligibility for unemployment is not extended to any unemployed worker who voluntarily quit his or her previous employment without qualifying cause. Florida defines qualifying causes as “compelling” reasons directly identifiable as the fault of the employer or an unavoidable separation driven by a worker’s health or medical condition. Workers also fail to meet the qualifications for unemployment if they were fired by their employers for cause, such as breach of contract or willful misconduct. Workers are not eligible for EDD if they were terminated as the result of failure to pass a mandated drug test.

Applicants who were approved to receive unemployment insurance may not remain qualified if they do not abide by all weekly/biweekly filing standards. Recipients must report their weekly gross wages or income from any source as part of their recurring benefits claims. No payments will be made to any recipients whose gross wages for a given week exceeded their calculated benefits payout for the same period. Recipients’ eligibility for unemployment benefits may be reversed if they do not consistently file on time, do not report their wages as required or intentionally hide or misrepresent their earnings. Florida workers who are self-employed are typically ineligible to receive Reemployment Assistance Program payouts.

Applicants do not qualify for unemployment in Florida if they are not able and available to work, or if they refuse to intentionally seek new full-time employment. Applicants must demonstrate their commitment and continuing efforts to pursue new employment through the keeping and submitting of records of their job search contacts and activities each week. A recipient’s eligibility for unemployment may be rescinded or denied as the result of failure to submit this information or the submission of forged or fraudulent information. Unemployment insurance benefits recipients may also have their awards rescinded if they refuse to accept a reasonable and appropriate offer of employment when it is made to them. They may also be disqualified from eligibility for EDD for failure to complete training and educational programming assigned to them by the Reemployment Assistance Program in response to the results of their skills assessments. Recipients who become incarcerated will also lose their eligibility for Reemployment Assistance Program benefits. Recipients become ineligible for unemployment benefits when they secure and begin new and suitable full-time employment or if they are caught submitted fraudulent claims. Applicants can learn more about unemployment qualifications by downloading our detailed unemployment guide.