ORLANDO, Fla. – Many people are unable to work due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While there are state and federal measures coming to help those impacted financially, in the more immediate future people can file for unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday more than 74,000 Floridians applied for unemployment benefits last week, a tenfold increase from the previous week, as the spread of the novel coronavirus shut down the state’s theme parks and visitors stayed away from its hotels and airports.
Across the U.S., nearly 3.3 million workers applied for jobless benefits– – more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982.
In Florida these benefits are called reemployment assistance and are designed to help people who are recently unemployed because they were laid of, fired or if they left their employer.
Persons who were furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 should file for these benefits as soon as possible. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released information about filing for reemployment benefits amid the pandemic.
Who qualifies for reemployment benefits due to COVID-19?
- People who were ordered to quarantine by a medical professional or a government agency.
- Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19.
- Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with the virus.
How do I file for reemployment benefits?
- Visit www.floridajobs.org to submit your application on the CONNECT platform here.
- Your claim will then go to review to determine if you qualify.
- Following your application, applicants must login to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request benefit payment. You will receive a date at the end of your application telling you when to return to CONNECT.
What do I Need to File for Reemployment Benefits?
You will need:
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license or state ID
- Records of your past 18 months of employment — including name of employer, separation reason, earnings and dates of employment.
- Military employees need DD-214 member 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8
- Federal government employees need SF 8 or SF 50.
If you are not a U.S. citizen you will also need work authorization,
What do the benefits include?
Eligible recipients can receive $32 to $275 per week, based on prior income. Note: The government is discussing increasing the amount you can receive in reemployment payments.
Currently, recipients can receive benefits for 12 weeks, however, that is based on Florida’s unemployment rate prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. If the unemployment rate increases, the number of weeks will also increase.
Gov. Ron DeSantis could also take steps to extend benefits due to the coronavirus.
How Long Does it Take to Apply?
The website and hotlines in Florida are backlogged and many people are reporting hours-long wait times or they are unable to log in to file. The DOE is working to hire more staff and add more servers to handle the increased demand.
People who need help filing a claim due to disabilities or have questions can call 1-800-681-8102. Be advised, due to the high call volume because of COVID-19, applicants’ wait times may be long and the website may be slow.
The call center is open 7 days a week, and the agency has authorized overtime for its employees to ensure additional capacity to better serve Floridians whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.