Am I Eligible?
In order to be eligible and accepted in the Florida state unemployment compensation program, there are a long exhaustive list of rules and regulations you are required to fulfill in order to receive the financial assistance you are seeking. With that in mind, here are the general and basic eligibility requirements as laid out by the laws of the state of Florida to receive unemployment compensation benefits:
To establish yourself as an eligible claimant for unemployment compensation, and receive financial assistance, a person must have worked and earned wages during a specific period of time known as the “base period”. The base period is defined as the initial four quarters of the previous five completed employment quarters prior to filing a claim. The base period changes every three months at the beginning of each new quarter. For example:
- To Qualify Monetarily, claimants must
- Have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters in the base period
- Have total base period wages of at least one and a half times the wages in the quarter with the highest earnings
- Have at least $3,400 total wages in the base period
- Calculating Your Weekly Benefit Amount: In order to calculate the weekly benefit amount you can expect from your unemployment compensation, use the quarter in your base period with the highest earnings and from there, divide those earnings by twenty six. This is the number of your weekly benefit amount. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $32 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $275.
Once your claim is ultimately determined, and you have been deemed monetarily eligible and you have claimed weeks of unemployment compensation, there is another vital step to complete the unemployment compensation application process, which is for the Department of Economic Opportunity to assess your non-monetary eligibility. Here is what is meant when you are asked about your “non-monetary” eligibility:
- Reason for Unemployment
For you to be eligible to receive unemployment compensation, you are expected to have been separated from your previous job through no fault of your own. Part of the review process done by the state is to analyze your reasons for becoming unemployed to ultimately determine your eligibility. Here are some potential red-flags the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will always be on the lookout for:
- Fired: There are instances where if you were fired from your last job you can still possibly be eligible for unemployment compensation, assuming you weren’t fired as a result of serious misconduct. The state definition of misconduct is defined as demonstrating conscious disregard of an employer’s interests and found to be a deliberate violation of the reasonable standard or behavior which the employer expects of an employee. Some examples of this would be not showing up for work on time or at all (once or on multiple instances), willful violation of a standard or regulation that could and/or would potentially jeopardize the employer’s Florida license or certification, and/or violation of an employer’s rules under certain circumstances.
- Voluntarily Quit: This is pretty self-explanatory, and is defined as you taking the first step in leaving your previous job. If you voluntarily quit you will in all likelihood be disqualified for eligibility for unemployment compensation unless you are able to produce evidence that would support your claim of having a cause for leaving. Some examples of this would be; the military transfer of a spouse, illness or disability of the person filing the unemployment claim, a cause attributable to the employer, and/or a recall by your permanent employer within six calendar months of a temporary termination.
Other Eligibility Requirements
Furthermore, aside from your last employment experience and the details required by the state regarding it, you are also expected to fulfill other unemployment compensation eligibility requirements such as:
- Be ready, able and willing to work: You are expected to be available for work and you must consistently and actively be seeking out new employment opportunities. You are expected to be free of any and all restrictions which may delay or harm your ability to have the potential of becoming employed once again.
- The Search: Throughout your consistent efforts to get another employment opportunity, you are expected to as well as required to keep a detailed log/record of your work search, including the company name, job applied for, contact person spoken with, and contact information of the company itself (You will be expected to report this information via the internet during your bi-weekly certification). Individuals are expected to claim their unemployment compensation on a bi-weekly schedule and answer question concerning their current employment search.
- Eligibility Reviews: You can and should expect to occasionally receive an eligibility review notice, concerning continued eligibility. You are expected and required to complete the form in a timely fashion and return it to the address listed, along with the form listing your job contacts. If further information is necessary or requested, you will be contacted.
- Initial Skills Review: In order to receive the unemployment compensation benefits you so desparately need, you will be expected to fulfill an initial skills review comprised of three sections intended to measure your job skill levels. However, rest assured this is purely for the Regional Workforce Borad to better develop strategies to help the unemployed people of the state of Florida. Your answers and completion of this initial skills review will not in any way, shape or form affect the ultimate decision of your unemployment compensation one way or another.