Introduction

Tax Information

  • Are Reemployment Assistance benefits taxed?
    Yes, benefits are a taxable income. You can elect to withhold 10% of your weekly benefits due with the IRS. This can be handled after logging into your claim under "View and Maintain Account Information" and selecting "Payment Method and Tax Withholding Options."      

  • What is a 1099-G?
    The 1099-G is the tax form the department issues in January for the purposes of filing your taxes. The 1099-G will detail the amount of benefits paid to you during a specific year as well as any amounts withheld and paid to the IRS. They are made available by January 31st for the prior tax year.  

  • What is a 49T?
    The form 49T is a receipt of repayment that provides the amount paid to a Reemployment Assistance overpayment in a specific tax year. You can log into CONNECT and click on “My 1099G/49T” to view the forms.

  • How can I obtain a copy of my 1099-G and/or 49T for a tax year?
    You can receive a copy of your 1099-G/49T multiple ways:
    •  The fastest way to receive your 1099-G or 49T is by selecting "electronic" as your correspondence method. You can log into CONNECT and go to "My 1099-G & 49Ts" in the main menu to view the last five years of your 1099-G or 49T documents.
    • A copy will be mailed by January 31st to the address on record if you selected "US Mail" as your correspondence type. Please keep your address updated in CONNECT. If you have mail forwarding, the United States Postal Service will forward your tax forms.
    • You can request a copy of your 1099-G from the last five years by e-mailing 1099G@deo.myflorida.com. Please include your name, last 4 digits of your Social Security number, previous address on file, current street address, a valid contact number, and the tax year you are requesting.
    • You can speak with an agent at 1-800-204-2418 who can assist in regaining access to your claim and/or submitting a request to issue duplicate information on your behalf.  
  • Why did I get a 1099-G for a year that I did not request benefits?
    Sometimes this occurs when your last weeks of benefits were paid at the beginning of the year. Other times, the department may complete adjudication that releases payments at a significantly later date. The easiest way to check on why a 1099-G was issued would be to log into CONNECT and review the “Payment History.”  
  • I am having difficulty opening my 1099-G. What do I do? 
    • Verify Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed and up-to-date.
    • Disable pop-up blockers in your browser. The 1099-G opens as a pop-up window.
    • Scroll Down when the PDF opens. The distributed forms are 2 pages long: Letterhead and 1099-G.
    • Use Internet Explorer 11. Our system is most compatible with Internet Explorer 11, other browsers may experience issues.
    If you continue to receive technical errors even after making these adjustments, please contact the department at 1-800-204-2418. 

Debit Card Changes

  •  What changes were made to the Reemployment Assistance (RA) debit card?
    The state of Florida has changed debit card providers. The Wells Fargo Visa-Branded EPPICard Program stopped receiving funds as of Oct 25th, 2019 and the card itself will no longer be valid as of December 11th, 2019.  A new Comerica Mastercard-Branded Way2Go Card Prepaid Debit Card was issued 2-3 weeks prior to the changeover. Any RA benefits received after Oct 25th, 2019 will go to this new card.  You will not receive a new Way2Go Card if you are not actively receiving benefits.
  • I am no longer receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits. Why am I receiving a notice regarding the RA debit card?
    Our records indicate that you have an outstanding balance on your EPPICard from when you were receiving benefits. The funds will no longer be accessible on the card after December 11, 2019. If you have any additional questions about accessing your card balance call 1-888-898-3584.
  • What happens if I do not use the funds on my current card?
    Your EPPICard will no longer be valid after December 11th, 2019. 
    • If you are currently collecting RA benefits, any remaining balance will be transferred to the new Way2Go Card.
    • If you do not have an active RA claim, you will no longer have access to your funds after the deadline. You may contact customer service at 1-888-898-3584 to receive instructions on how to get the remaining funds.
  • Can I transfer the remaining balance on the current card to a bank account?
    Yes, you can transfer the remaining balance to any US-based bank account that you own by calling the Customer Service automated line at 1-888-898-3584. There is a $1.50 charge per transfer. If you are currently collecting RA benefits, changing to direct deposit in CONNECT will only affect future payments.
  • Is the current card still valid even if I receive and activate the new card?
    Yes, funds that had been sent to your EPPICard are available until December 11, 2019. Any RA benefits sent to you on or after October 25, 2019 will only be accessible on the new Way2Go card.
  • Are my funds accessible by both the current and new card?
    No, they are separate balances. All payments until October 24, 2019 are made to the EPPICard. All payments made October 25, 2019 onward are made to the Way2Go Card. Any balance remaining on your EPPICard as of December 11, 2019 will be transferred to the Way2Go Card.
  • What steps do I need to take to set up my new card?
    You will need to go to GoProgram.com and create a user ID and password. Make sure that you have your new Way2Go Card with you when you go to register your new account. If you have any issues, call their Customer Service line at 1-833-888-2780.

 

General

  • What is Reemployment Assistance?
    Unemployment Insurance was rebranded with the name Reemployment Assistance to reflect the comprehensive goal of assisting Floridians find work during periods of unemployment through monetary assistance when eligible and training through Florida’s CareerSource centers.  

  • What is CONNECT?
    CONNECT is Florida’s Reemployment Assistance claims system. CONNECT offers access to file, manage, and review your claim details 24/7.  

  • What are your hours of operation?
    The CONNECT claims system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Center hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday 8 AM to 2 PM EST.   

  • How do I file a claim? Where do I file a claim?
    You can file a claim online via Florida’s CONNECT claims system. If you are seeking Reemployment Assistance Benefits, please click here to access the CONNECT system to file your claim.   If you cannot file a claim online because of legal reasons, computer illiteracy, language barriers, or disabilities you may call 1-800-681-8102. Your claim can be filed by phone Monday through Friday 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM EST, and Saturday and Sunday 8 AM to 2 PM.  
  • When do benefit claims begin?
    Your claim is effective Sunday of the week you complete your application. By state law, the first week of a claim for which you would have been eligible for payment is an unpaid week. This week is considered your “waiting week.”  
  • Where do I go to file a claim?
    Claims are filed online through our CONNECT system. If you need assistance or have questions about your claim, you can contact us by e-mail or by phone at 1-800-204-2418. If you have a claim, please use the e-mail address you have provided in CONNECT.  

  • Who pays for my Reemployment Assistance benefits?
    Florida employers pay for RA through a tax managed by the Florida Department of Revenue. It is one of the employer's business costs. Workers do not pay reemployment taxes.  

  • Can I receive benefits if I am placed on part-time work?
    If your employer reduces your hours against your will, you may be eligible for partial benefits. If you are earning less than $275 in gross earnings per week, you can file a claim to determine if you would be eligible to receive partial payments.  
  • Sometimes the system tells me to call back later. Why is that?
    We experience periods of high call volume. If you are unable to reach the department by phone, please submit an e-mail for information regarding your claim. If you have a claim, please use the e-mail address you have provided in CONNECT. 
  • I was scheduled for an appointment with my local CareerSource do I have to go?
    Yes. If you are unable to attend, you may contact the location where you are scheduled in advance and you may be able to reschedule your appointment. Missing an appointment with the CareerSource requires an adjudicator to review your claim and determine if the appointment was missed due to good cause.

PIN & Technical Questions

  • How can I reset my PIN to regain access to my profile?
    After entering your Social Security number on the CONNECT login page, select the “Forgot PIN” option to reset your PIN after verifying your information. If you cannot reset the PIN, contact us at 1-800- 297-0586.

    You can submit documents verifying your identity to the department. Please provide a copy of your Social Security card and a copy of your valid driver’s license or state ID. Please allow three business days for the documents to be reviewed and, then contact the department at 1-800-297-0586 to verify your information.

    Fax:
    321-332-6608
    E-mail: IdentityRequest@deo.myflorida.com
  • Are there any restrictions for my PIN?
    Yes, please make sure your PIN meets the following criteria:
    • Your PIN must be four digits.
    • Your PIN can only be numbers. Letters and symbols are not allowed.  
    • Your PIN cannot be the numbers 1111, 9999, 0000, or 1234.
    • Your PIN cannot be the last 4 digits of your social security number.
  • Are there any restrictions for the security question answers?
    Yes, please make sure your security question answers meet the following criteria:
    • Your answers must use letters and numbers. Special characters are not allowed.
    • Your answers must be between 5 and 35 characters in length.          
  • Help, I received a technical error. What do I do?
    There are two common causes to technical issues with CONNECT:
    • CONNECT is not compatible with mobile devices. CONNECT was designed for desktop computers.
    • CONNECT is most compatible with Internet Explorer 11.       
    If you continue to receive technical errors after making these adjustments, please contact the department at 1-800-204-2418.
  • When I enter my Social Security Number, Driver’s License, and/or State ID, the system says the information is not valid. What do I do?
    Please verify you are submitting the information exactly as it appears on your documents. If the system continues to report that information is not valid, after your third attempt, the system will accept the information you are providing. If this happens, your claim will be followed-up with a request for you to provide copies of your Social Security card and your valid Driver's License or State ID card.
  • Can I use my mobile device to file a claim or manage my benefits?
    At this time, mobile devices are not supported with our claims system, CONNECT.

  • I am having trouble opening items in my Inbox. How can I access these documents?
    Please verify the following as these are common issues surrounding opening correspondence:
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed and up-to-date
    • You are using a computer, not a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet
    • Make sure you are using a compatible browser
    • Disable any pop-up blockers that may prevent PDF documents from opening
  • How do I change my correspondence type?
    After logging into CONNECT:
    1. Go to “View and Maintain Account Information” in the main menu.
    2. Go to “Contact Information” option.
    3. Select “Edit”.
    4. Select your new “Correspondence Preference.”
    5. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date.
    6. Select “Submit”.
  • I used to have notices in my Inbox. Why don’t I see anything in my Inbox?
    After you review an item, it is hidden to make room for new notifications. You can use the search functions in the Inbox to pull up previously viewed correspondence. If you want all items displayed, select the “Search” button with no search information filled out.

  • When I submit my fact-finding questions, why do I get logged out and CONNECT doesn’t save my answers?
    Please be aware CONNECT will log you out after periods of inactivity. If you spend too much time without changing pages in CONNECT, you will be logged out for security purposes. Please make sure if you have a large amount of information to provide in your fact-finding that you select “Save” at the bottom of the page frequently to avoid losing any information. 

  • Was my uploaded document received in CONNECT?
    When you attach additional documents to your fact-finding, the form will show which documents have been successfully attached prior to submission. Please verify the documents you wish to submit are listed PRIOR to sending your fact-finding. When you submit your documents, you will receive an error if they are not received successfully.

Filing Your Claim

  • What do I need to file a claim for benefits?
    Before filing, make sure you have the following documents available:
    • Social Security number
    • Driver’s License or State ID number
    • Your employment for the last 18 months including for each employer:
    • Name, address, and phone number
    • First & last day of work
    • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) during the listed dates
    • Reason for separation
    • FEIN number (this is found on any W2 or 1099 tax forms you have received)
    • If you don’t have the FEIN, you can use employer details off of a recent paystub
    •        
    Additionally, if you are one of the following, make sure you have this additional information available:
      • Non-U.S. citizen: Alien registration number or other work authorization form
      • Military employee: DD-214 Member 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 may be used
      • Federal employee: SF 8 or SF 50
      • Union member: union name, hall number, and phone number
  • I am missing a piece of information, should I still file?
    Missing information will create additional delays in determining your eligibility. However, if missing information is unavoidable, your claim can still be processed.  
  • I have already filed within the last year; do I need to file another claim?
    If your previous claim has a remaining balance and has not expired, you need to file a “Reopen” after logging into your CONNECT account. This is a shortened application to update your work history since your original application was filed. Once completed, any recent employment will be reviewed and weeks of benefits will be scheduled for you to claim.
       
  • I am having trouble entering my citizenship/work authorization information.
    Please enter the number of the authorizing document you are able to provide. If you continue to have difficulties, the system will accept your information after several attempts. However, a copy of your document will be requested after your application is completed.
       
  • Do I need to enter an employer I only worked with a short time?
    Yes, your entire work history is required from the last 18 months. Regardless of the length of time worked, all employment is used in determining your benefits.

  • I cannot enter one of my employers in the application, what do I do?
    Please check for the following common mistakes. Make sure:  
    • There are no mistakes with the start and end dates
    • The employment end date is during or after the base period indicated by CONNECT
    • The employment is not already on the claim. You can use the “Previous” button to return and check.
    Carefully review the error message you receive as this will try to assist in correcting the error. If the problem persists, please contact the department at 1-800-204-2418 for assistance.

  • What do I do once I complete my application?
    You are required to complete a few additional items after completing your application.

    • Request Benefit Payment
      You are scheduled to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request your benefits. Completing this process submits your request for payment during your weeks of unemployment, even when your claim is pending for review. It is important that you request your benefits within 7 days of your scheduled date regardless of your claim status.
    • Workforce Registration

      You are required to register with Employ Florida. When creating (or updating) your EF profile, you must provide a valid e-mail address, upload or create a current resume, and complete background history on your profile. Please see these step-by-step instructions for more information. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE FULL WORK REGISTRATION, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE PAYMENT.

      DEO has suspended this requirement for any claims filed with an effective date of March 15, 2020, through the week ending May 2, 2020.
    • Work Search Contacts

      You are required to provide five work search contacts for every week of benefits you request from the department. Report these contacts during your biweekly requests for benefits.

      DEO has suspended this requirement beginning the week of March 15, 2020 through the week ending May 2, 2020.
    • Any incomplete fact-findings
      During the initial processing of your claim, many reviews occur regarding your eligibility for benefits. You will be mailed correspondence or sent an email reminder to check your CONNECT inbox based on your selected contact method. Please complete any requests for information as soon as possible. Any correspondence received via mail can be completed online. You can fax completed forms to 1-877-934-1504.
    • Watch for your notice of monetary determination
      This notice will provide details on the amount of benefits you can receive per week (weekly benefit amount), the total balance your claim has (maximum benefit amount), as well as the history of wages that has established your claim.  
    • Appointment with your local CareerSource office
      After receiving several weeks of benefits, you will be scheduled for a mandatory appointment with your local CareerSource office. It will provide one-on-one services to help create a reemployment plan. Your appointment notice will be mailed to you, so please ensure your address in both CONNECT and Employ Florida are up-to-date. Failure to attend your scheduled appointment will result in a review of your eligibility and potentially delay or deny your benefits.

Requesting Benefit Payment

  • Where do I request my weeks of benefits?
    Once you are scheduled to request benefits, you will see the option in the CONNECT menu “Request Benefit Payment.”  

  • How long do I have to request my benefits?
    You have 7 days to request benefits from your scheduled date. Failure to request your benefits in a timely manner will result in the loss of benefit weeks.  
     
  • When I request my benefits, it says I have not completed the full registration with Workforce Services. I completed my profile already, how do I fix this?

    Please verify you have completed ALL three required sections of your Employ Florida (EF) profile. Please see these step-by-step instructions to verify you have completed all sections correctly. If you have a preexisting profile, you must update the information for completion on a new claim.   If you have verified all parts have been completed correctly, it may be possible that you have entered your Social Security number, date of birth, or gender incorrectly. If the information does not match between the two systems, CONNECT will be unable to verify the completion of your profile. Please check your EF profile and verify that your information is correct.   If you are still unable to resolve this issue please contact us at 1-800-204-2418.

    DEO has suspended this requirement for any claims filed with an effective date of March 15, 2020, through the week ending May 2, 2020. 
     
  • What is a valid work search contact and what information do you need?
    You are required to provide the following details for each job contact:
    • Date of contact
    • Method of contact (in person, online, fax, phone, etc.)
    • Business name including telephone number & complete address, website URL or an e-mail
    • Results of your search
    • Type of work sought  
  • How many work search contacts do I need to provide to the department per benefit week?
    • You are required to provide five work search contacts per week. The following are exceptions and exemptions:
      • If you reside in a low-population county, you are required to submit three contacts weekly
      • If you are a union member, you are required to remain in good standing and maintain regular contact with your Union.
      • If you are on temporary layoff and will return to the same employer within 8 weeks, you are exempt from work search requirements.
      • If you are offered new employment and have a start date within 6 weeks, you are exempt from work search requirements.
      • If you are a part of an approved training program, you are exempt from work search requirements.

        If you qualify for one of these exemptions and still receive a request for full work search information, please contact us at 1-800-204-2418 for assistance.
    DEO has suspended the requirement to provide work search contacts beginning the week of March 15, 2020 through the week ending May 2, 2020.

     

  • When will I receive my debit card?
    The Way2Go debit card will be issued by mail after the first payment on your claim is made via debit card. If you have previously been issued a debit card, it is valid for three years from the initial issue date. Your previous card will receive any payments on your current claim. If you have lost your previous debit card and/or have not received your debit card 10 business days after your first debit payment, please contact our card provider, Conduent, at:

                 U.S.: 1-833-888-2780  
                 International: 1-210-334-6615 (This includes Puerto Rico. This line is not toll-free)

Way2GoDebitCard           

  • Why do I have a negative balance on my debit card?
    The debit card provider, Conduent, has certain fees associated with the card. This includes a limited number of contacts to their phone lines per month. Please review the information issued with your card for more details surrounding these fees. Conduent also provides additional methods to check your balance including SMS notifications (text messages), checking at approved ATMs, as well as a web portal to view your balance information. Please visit www.goprogram.com for more information.  

  • Why isn’t my CONNECT PIN working for my debit card?
    Your CONNECT PIN is separate from the debit card PIN. You will need to follow the instructions included with the debit card in order to activate and establish a PIN.  

  • Why can’t I enter my banking information on CONNECT?
    There are several reasons your banking information may be rejected:
    • The information you entered is incorrect.
    • The interface to verify the information is currently down.
    • Your bank is not approved for direct deposit.
    • You are attempting to use a prepaid card for direct deposit purposes.

Unfortunately, we do not accept every financial institution; your bank may not be eligible for direct deposit. Please select debit card if you have no other financial institution. 

Monetary Determinations

  • What is the maximum amount of benefits I can receive?
    Florida maximum benefits adjust every year based on the previous year’s unemployment rates.

    2019 Claim Maximums: 12 weeks                   2020 Claim Maximums: 12 weeks
    Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): $275            Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): $275
    Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): $3300     Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): $3300
               
  • How are my benefits calculated?
    The wages used to determine your benefit amounts are the first four of the last five calendar quarters.

    Claims filed today use wages earned between 01/01/2019 through 12/31/2019.

    Once we have the wages on record, we verify the following to determine if you are eligible for benefits:
    • $3400 minimum gross earnings during base period.
    • You must have a minimum of two quarters of covered wages.
    • Total base period gross wages must be more than 1.5x the highest wage quarter.
       
    Once we complete those checks, the last steps are simple:
    • Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
      WBA is the highest quarter divided by 26 OR the weekly amount $275, whichever is less
    • Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)
      MBA is your total base period wages divided by 4 OR the yearly maximum, whichever is less
  • I do not see my employer on my monetary determination. Why is that?
    This could be due to several factors:
    • It is possible your employment was not during the base period under review.
    • Your employment and wages may not have been covered wages for Reemployment Assistance purposes.
    • It is possible the wages you earned were reported incorrectly or reported late.

    There are two quick steps to check for common issues:
    • Verify the missing employment is during the base period under review.
    • Verify your information (specifically your Social Security number) is correct on any tax forms.
    If you find an error or if you still have concerns regarding your missing wages, you can submit for monetary reconsideration following the instructions on your monetary determination. This must be requested within 20 days of the monetary determination date.
  • Was my request for monetary reconsideration received?
    CONNECT will not display a confirmation screen when submitted. Verify the request was received by checking the “Determination, Pending Issues and Decision Summary” section of CONNECT and reviewing the “Monetary Pending Issues” section. You should see a pending item attached to the employer’s name that you reported wage issues on.      

       
  • Will I be paid for my waiting week? Do I have to serve a waiting each time I reactivate my claim?
    No. However, this week does not deduct from your available balance of funds. A claim serves one waiting week during its active benefit year. If your previous claim expires, the new claim would need to serve its own waiting week.
     
  • After filing a claim, my remaining balance was low. I went back to work, why do I not have more money available?
    You cannot receive more than the maximum benefit amount allocated during a claim’s benefit year.
     
  • I see that I have benefits available on an older claim, am I able to receive this money?
    Once the claim passes its expiration date, the funds are no longer available and a new claim must be filed and reviewed for eligibility.

Adjudication

  • What is the adjudication process?
    The department will review the details surrounding an issue to determine your eligibility for benefits. Involved parties will receive a fact-finding to request the necessary information to make a determination. An adjudicator may contact you or an employer to clarify any received details before making a determination. This contact may be by phone, e-mail, or through your CONNECT Inbox.
  • Why does my claim say it is pending for adjudication? Why does my monetary determination say I have a pending eligibility issue?
    Anytime your claim has a pending item for resolution, you will have a message indicating that your claim is pending for adjudication. While this frequently means payments must remain on hold until after the review is completed, some issues do not hold benefit payment and are merely background reviews or verifications.    
  • What is considered being “able and available” for work?
    Being able to seek and accept full-time work as well as having the availability to accept a full-time schedule. Below are some related examples that could impact your eligibility:
    • Any illness or injury during the majority of a week (including hospital stays)
    • Travel without the intent of seeking work & relocating
    • A lack of childcare that interrupts your ability to find work
    • Your school schedule conflicts with your ability to work full-time     
  • What if my employer fails to respond?
    If they fail to respond to a request for information by their deadline, a determination will be made with the available information. Please do not contact your former employer regarding their response.
     
  • Why are you asking about my old employer? I have worked somewhere else and I am not filing against them.
    All employers during the last 18 months are reviewed and contacted regarding your employment. You cannot choose which employer is part of your RA claim. Please respond to all requests for information to ensure timely processing.
       
  • How long is the adjudication process? 
    Time frames vary based on several factors including the depth of the issue being reviewed. Usually, adjudication time frames fluctuate between two to six weeks.
     
  • I received eligible determinations, why haven’t I been paid yet?
    Issues are reviewed separately. While you may receive an eligible determination, you may still have additional issues pending for review. Payments cannot process until all determinations have been completed and you have no disqualifications.  

  • Why have I not received a determination after completing my fact-finding?
    Responding to a fact-finding does not complete the review on an issue. The employer must respond (or fail to respond by their deadline) and an adjudicator must be available to review all submitted forms.

  • Can I speak with an adjudicator?
    Most issues under review do not require direct contact with an adjudicator for a determination to be made. Adjudicators review the fact-finding collected regarding the issues they review and will make a determination based on the available information. It is important that you complete any fact-findings as thoroughly as possible. An adjudicator will contact you if they need more information.  

  • I missed a call from an adjudicator. What do I do?
    Please review their voicemail carefully. They may request that you speak with them directly and set a return call deadline. Other times they may request that you log into CONNECT and complete additional fact-finding questions so they can render a determination.      
        
  • I disagree with my adjudication determination, now what do I do?
    You have the right to appeal the determination if you disagree with the “Reasoning & Findings” of the determination. Click here to file an appeal.

  • I have disqualified weeks. What does that mean?
    Disqualified weeks will not release payment because of an adjudicator’s determination. Verify the related disqualification by checking the “Determination, Pending Issues and Decision Summary” section of CONNECT.
       

Appeals

  • What is an appeal hearing?
    An appeal hearing is scheduled when you or an employer disagree with a Department determination and wish to have a hearing with an appeals referee. To protect your rights, participating in the hearing is important, even if the other party filed the appeal. The decision from this hearing will replace the determination that was appealed.
  • How do I file an appeal?
    You must request an appeal hearing within 20 calendar days after the distributed date of the determination. If the 20th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday you may file the appeal the next business day. You may submit your request for an appeal by mail, fax, email, or online through CONNECT. Please complete a Notice of Appeal for your request by mail or fax.  Please use the CONNECT guide to file online. To submit by email, attach your Notice of Appeal and send to RA.AppealsClerks@deo.myflorida.com   
  • How do I file a late appeal?
    If you miss the 20 day period and would like to request a late appeal, you may fax the request to 850-617-6504 and include justification for the late appeal.
                
  • How do I know an appeal was filed?
    You will receive notification in your CONNECT inbox or by mail depending on your correspondence preference.
         
  • Should I continue to request benefit payment?
    Yes, as long as you are unemployed, even if a hearing was requested or held, a decision was issued, or an appeal was made to the RA Appeals Commission or Judicial Court. Be sure that you continue to follow all other instructions from the RA office.
  • Where are hearings held?
    Appeal hearings are held by telephone. You will receive a Notice of Hearing indicating the date and time an appeals referee will be calling you for your hearing.
  • How is the appeal hearing conducted?
    The hearing officer will call you on the day and time of your scheduled hearing. The hearing is your opportunity to present all information, including verbal statements and documentation. During the hearing, you will have an opportunity to respond to questions and provide information about the noticed issue. If there are other parties or witnesses present during the hearing, you will also be able to hear their testimony and ask them questions. If you provided or received documents for the hearing, the documents may be discussed during the hearing. 
       
  • What happens if I don’t participate?
    If the party who filed the appeal participates, a hearing will be held. The decision will be based on the evidence presented. If you do not participate, your evidence will not be considered. If you filed the appeal and do not participate, your case will be dismissed.
     
  • How can I arrange for witnesses?
    Contact and ask the witness to testify. The best witness is one with personal knowledge of the facts. A witness who was present at an event is much better than one who was told about it by someone else. If possible, you and your witness(es) should be at the same location for the hearing. If a witness cannot be at your location and must be contacted at a different telephone number, provide the witness’ name and telephone number to the Office of Appeals by phone, fax, or mail. Instruct the witness to be available at the scheduled hearing time and to remain available until dismissed by you or the appeals referee. If a witness refuses to testify voluntarily, a subpoena can be requested by writing to the address on the Notice of Hearing. Mail or fax the request as soon as possible, so the subpoena can be served before the hearing. Include the case docket number; the witness’ name, address, and telephone number (if available), as well as a detailed description of any document(s) the witness should furnish for the hearing.

                 Office of Appeals
                 P.O. Box 5250
                 Tallahassee, FL 32399-5250
                 Fax number: 850-617-6504
   

  • What if I need a translator?
    Translation will be arranged for parties who indicate a primary language other than English. If a translator is needed and the Notice of Hearing does not indicate a translator was arranged, contact the Office of Appeals at once to advise what language is needed so arrangements can be made.
  • What if I need to change my hearing date?
    A postponement may be requested if there is a compelling reason why you cannot participate as scheduled. The request can be made in writing before the hearing or on the record during the hearing. A written request can be submitted through CONNECT, by fax, mail, or by email to DEOAppeals.Magistrate@deo.myflorida.com. The Request for Continuance form should be used. If you are unable to use this form, include a statement of good cause for continuance and reference your docket number. The referee will let you know in writing if the request is granted. If a written reply is not received, assume the request was denied. Be available for the hearing and prepared to present your case.

  • What if I missed the hearing?
    If you missed a hearing you must exercise due diligence in requesting re-opening. Any request for rehearing must be filed online through your CONNECT account or by mailing, emailing or faxing a written request to the address or fax number on the Notice of Hearing or Decision. To submit by email, attach a statement with your reason for not attending the hearing and send it to RA.AppealsClerks@deo.myflorida.com. The Docket Number for the missed hearing must be included in the statement. An appeals referee decision will only be rescinded if good cause for nonappearance is shown. Only compelling and necessary reasons constitute good cause. If your rehearing request is granted, you must present evidence of good cause at the new hearing and show due diligence in trying to re-arrange your schedule or requesting postponement. If good cause is not shown, the prior decision will be reinstated.

  • Can I withdraw my appeal?
    You may withdraw an appeal by mail or fax to the Appeals Office address or fax number on the Notice of Hearing. Include your social security number and docket number. In most situations, a withdrawn appeal cannot be reopened.

                 Office of Appeals
                 P.O. Box 5250
                 Tallahassee, FL 32399-5250
                 Fax number: 850-617-6504

      
  • Should I hire an attorney?
    Professional representation is not required and most people represent themselves at reemployment assistance hearings. You have the right to be represented by an attorney or authorized representative at your own expense. Fees for representing you must be approved by the appeals referee, but paid by you. Legal representation may be available through a local Legal Aid Office at reduced or no cost for low-income claimants. For information about hiring an attorney, contact the Florida Bar Association toll-free at 1-800-342-8011. If you hire an attorney or authorize someone to represent you, provide the person’s name, address, and telephone number to the Office of Appeals to ensure all notices are sent to that person.
       
  • When will I receive a decision?
    You will receive a decision in the mail as soon as possible after the hearing. The decision will include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the result, which will affirm, reverse, or modify the determination or dismiss the appeal. An appeal decision can be viewed in your CONNECT inbox or by selecting the Determination, Pending Issues and Decision Summary page in your CONNECT account.
  • What if I disagree with the decision?
    If you disagree with the decision, you can request a review by the RA Appeals Commission. Instructions for requesting review are on the decision document. An online appeal request may be filed with the RA Appeals Commission here. Any request for review must be filed within 20 calendar days after the decision was mailed. The RA Appeals Commission will not hold another hearing; its decision will be based on the testimony and other evidence presented to the referee and how the referee used that evidence to reach a decision. Therefore, presenting all of your evidence at the hearing is very important. Upon completing its review, the RA Appeals Commission will mail a written order to all parties. If you receive an unfavorable decision will have to repay benefits that should not have been paid. An employer who receives an unfavorable decision may receive benefit charges that increase the employer’s tax rate or require reimbursement to the trust fund.
  • Will the case record be confidential?
    No, except for your social security number, appeal information becomes public record.

End of Your Claim

  • When does a claim end?
    The claim expires after 365 days. Payments end when the balance runs out OR the end date passes. Your monetary determination will notify you of your maximum balance available as well as the end date of your claim. 12 weeks is the maximum number of weeks of assistance available.
  • I have returned to work. How do I close/cancel my claim?
    Congratulations on your new job! You may continue to request benefit weeks up to the week when you started working. When you request the week overlapping with your job, please indicate that you have worked and earned money during the week. If you expect to work full-time and/or earn over $275 in gross earnings during the week of overlap, you do not need to request benefits for that week.
  • My claim ran out of money, what do I do now?
    There are no additional funds available when your claim reaches a $0 balance. The message on your “Claimant Home” in CONNECT will provide the earliest date you are able to file a new claim for benefits. 

    You may be able to find additional assistance by dialing 211 on your phone. This will connect you with your local United Way branch.

    For other government programs offering assistance, you can visit www.benefits.gov.
  • Do you have extensions available?
    There are no extension programs available at this time.
       
    For other government programs offering assistance, you can visit www.benefits.gov.

Overpayments & Fraud

  • How do I send a repayment to DEO for an overpayment?
    Repayments are accepted by check/money order with an attached payment coupon or by credit card here. Established overpayments are expected to be paid in full. If you are unable to make repayment in full, a minimum payment of 10% of the total original balance is expected to be paid on a monthly basis. DEO will accept any repayments toward an overpayment.  

  • Why did I get this letter regarding the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)?
    Eligible debts owed to DEO will be noted within the issued letter and sent to the Department of Treasury in an effort to collect the amount due through your eligible federal tax refund. In addition, a $17 processing fee is added to the collection. The following are considered eligible debts:  
    • Delinquent debt as a result of fraud
    • Delinquent debt as a result of non-reported earnings
    • Legally enforceable debts  
  • I received a collections notice; do I pay it to you or pay it to the collection agency?
    You should pay the collection agency once any delinquent debts have been referred elsewhere and you have received notification.    

  • Why does the actual overpayment balance differ from what was provided by collections/TOP?
    If an overpayment requires a third party, either through a collection agency or through the TOP program, they will attach processing fees to the amount due. Any overpayment determined to have been fraudulent by the Department will also incur an additional 15% penalty to the original amount overpaid.  

  • Can I view my overpayments in CONNECT?
    You are not able to view overpayments in CONNECT. If you have questions regarding an overpayment balance, please contact the department at 1-800-204-2418.  

  • What constitutes fraud related to overpayments?
    To receive a fraud determination, the Department must conclude that you:  
    • Made false statements that may alter or increase benefits, OR
    • Withheld information that may alter or increase benefits, OR
    • Failed to report work in order to obtain or increase benefits, OR
    • Failed to report earnings in order to obtain or increase benefits

    Being “unaware” of Reemployment Assistance laws does not exempt you from a fraud determination. Please read all fraud statements carefully when submitting your application and any requests for benefits.
  • How can I avoid committing fraud?
    • Accurately report the reason you are unemployed. After applying for benefits, the separating employer(s) is sent a Notice of Claim Filed and Request for Separation Information, UCB-412.
    • Actively search for work. You are required to conduct an active search for work for each week you claim RA benefits. You are required to make a minimum of 5 (or 3 in certain counties) verifiable job contacts each week and submit evidence of your job contacts, when requesting benefit payment in CONNECT. DEO conducts a random audit on claimants’ work search records. Employers are contacted to verify the information provided.
    • Report any wages you have earned. You must report your gross wages (earnings before taxes and other deductions) for each week you work and claim RA benefits, even if you have not actually been paid for the work. This includes part-time or temporary work. DEO utilizes a quarterly wage cross-match system. The cross-match compares benefits paid to wages reported by employers under the same social security number during the same calendar quarter.
    • Report when you are not able or available to seek or accept work. You must be physically able and available to perform some type of work (even if it is not your regular field of work). Notify DEO if you are not ready, willing and able to work (e.g. out of the area, on vacation, sick, suffering total disability) while collecting RA benefits. 
    • Report all job refusals. If you refuse an offer of work, you must report your refusal to DEO, who will determine if there was good cause to refuse the work.
    • Avoid errors and ensure proper payment of benefits. To prevent errors that may result in an overpayment, read all of the information in the Reemployment Assistance Handbook.
    • Know your responsibilities and ask for help. Navigating through the RA system can be confusing. Do not risk losing your benefits because you do not know your rights and responsibilities. If you have a question, Reemployment Assistance agents are here to help. Call 1-800-204-2418, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM EST.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

  • What is DUA?
    The purpose of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is to provide RA benefits and reemployment services to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular state RA benefits. The program covers individuals who are self-employed and owners and workers of farms and ranches, as well as fishers and others who are not normally covered by RA benefits.
  • What is needed to activate DUA?
    • An official declaration signed by the President of the United States declaring a major disaster.
    • Once the President signs an official declaration, DEO must issue an official announcement regarding the programs availability. 
  • Highlights
    • Claimants must file their request for DUA within 30 days of DEO’s official announcement.
    • DUA benefits are available for up to 26 weeks for individuals who meet the requirements.
    • Claimants eligible for regular RA benefits must exhaust those benefits prior to establishing a DUA claim within the Disaster Assistance Period. 
  • Eligibility
    • Are monetarily ineligible for RA or have exhausted regular benefits.
    • Live or work in the disaster-declared county.
    • Became unemployed as a direct result of the disaster or are unable to reach their place of employment due to the disaster.
    • Cannot work due to an injury as a result of the disaster.
    • Were scheduled to begin work and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster.
  • When can I apply?

    Following a disaster declaration by the President and an announcement by DEO. All eligible individuals have 30 days from the announcement date to file a claim for DUA.

  • How do I apply?

    Once DUA is declared and available, you will be asked about potential impacts from recent disasters when filing for standard RA benefits. After you have completed your application for benefits, you will be allowed to file a claim for DUA through the main menu in your CONNECT account. You may also apply by calling 1-800-204-2418 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

    For additional information and announcements on the DUA program, visit announcements page.

    Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 1-800-462-7585.

  • Who can apply?

    Individuals who:

    • Worked or lived in a county for which the disaster has been officially declared; and became unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster; or
    • Were unable to reach their place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or
    • Were scheduled to begin work and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster; or
    • Became the major support for a household because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster; or
    • Cannot work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.

    Information required when filing:

    • Social Security number.
    • Alien registration number and expiration date (if non-U.S. citizen).
    • Name and address of most recent employer(s) (separating employer due to disaster).
    • Name and address of employer(s), where scheduled to begin work but could not, due to the disaster and date work was to begin with this employer(s).
    • If self-employed, you must have proof of self-employment that was directly affected by the disaster, including but not limited to:
    • State or federal tax returns
    • Financial statements
    • Bank records of accounts or 1099 forms
  • What is a definition of an unemployed worker in reference to DUA?

    For the purposes of DUA, an unemployed worker is one who worked in or was scheduled to begin work in the major disaster area at the time of the major disaster and whose principle source of income and livelihood is dependent upon the worker’s employment for wages.

  • Requirements for self-employed individuals to be eligible:
    In order for any self-employed individual to establish eligibility for full or partial DUA, the state must determine that:

    • The individual, as a direct result of the disaster, has a week of total or partial unemployment as defined in 20 CFR 625.2(w)(2); and
    • The individual's unemployment is a direct result of the disaster, particularly, because of lack of work or loss of revenues the individual or business received a majority of its revenue or income from an entity in the major disaster area as set forth in 20 CFR 625.5(c). 
  • Able and Available for work:
    An applicant must be able to work and available for work according to state law requirements but if the applicant’s inability to work is the result of an injury caused by the major disaster, the applicant will be deemed to meet this requirement. 

  • Can DUA be paid as a supplement to reemployment benefits?

    DUA is not payable as a supplement to reemployment benefits for the same week of unemployment, nor is it payable for any reemployment compensation waiting period required under Florida law. In order to qualify for DUA, individuals must be unemployed or partially unemployed at their on-going employment or self-employment as a direct result of the major disaster or must be prevented from commencing employment or self-employment.

  • When am I no longer eligible for DUA?
    Individuals will cease to be eligible for DUA when their partial or total unemployment is no longer caused by the major disaster, or when they fully resume their customary services in self-employment or otherwise are no longer partially or totally unemployed. 

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