Unemployment in Florida. Learn how to file and collect it.

 
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Filing for Unemployment in Florida

Instructions about how to collect unemployment in FL. If you are filing for unemployment compensation, you need to start with a Weekly Earnings Worksheet. If you work while claiming benefits, you must report your GROSS pay when EARNED.  Wages must be reported when earned; do not wait until you receive a paycheck.  The worksheet format below is to help you calculate your weekly earnings when needed.  For benefit purposes, a claim week always begins with Sunday and ends the following Saturday.



Florida Unemployment Claims and Benefits

Before to file a claim

1. Can I file a claim?
Any individual who is currently unemployed or partially unemployed can file a claim. Two determinations must be made on a claim to determine eligibility. The first determination will advise the individual if you have had sufficient work and earnings in Florida to establish a monetarily eligible claim. A monetarily eligible claim does not necessarily mean that you are eligible to receive benefits. The second determination pertains to the separation from the last or possibly next to the last employer. The reason for separation from the last employer, possibly the next to the last employer and other eligibility requirements must be examined to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits. This second determination will not be issued until the claim is filed and the claimant has actually certified for weeks of unemployment.

Eligibility for benefits is determined in accordance with Florida Statutes Chapter 443. The information concerning F.S. Chapter 443 can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.leg.state.fl.us

2. What are the general eligibility requirements to receive unemployment compensation benefits?
To establish a monetarily eligible unemployment compensation claim, a person must have worked and earned wages during the first four quarters of the previous five completed quarters prior to filing a claim. This period of time is called the “base period.” The base period changes every three months at the beginning of each new quarter starting in January, April, July and October.

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.

For claims filed during April, May and June, 2008, the base period is January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007. 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. To calculate your maximum available credits, you divide your total base period wages as shown on your Wage Transcript and Determination by four (4). 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.

After the monetary determination is issued, then the reason for separation from the last employer must be reviewed with the claimant and employer to determine eligibility for benefits. If you have not earned seventeen 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. An individual can receive benefits if separated from the job through no fault of their own.


An individual may be eligible for benefits if the discharge was for reasons other than misconduct. Misconduct is defined as intentional or controllable acts or failures to take action, which show a deliberate disregard of the employer’s interest. 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.

If an individual voluntarily quits, a disqualification must be issued unless you can prove good cause for leaving. The law provides that good cause may only consist of a cause attributable to the employing unit, illness or disability of the claimant, recall by the claimant’s permanent employing unit within six calendar months of a temporary termination or the military transfer of a spouse.

The claimant must also be able to work, available for work and actively seeking employment to be eligible for benefits. Agency regulations provide that to be considered available for work a claimant must actively seek work in a manner customary to the occupation in which work is being sought. The claimant must be without undue restrictions that lessen the chance of becoming re-employed at the earliest possible time. All claimants are required to keep a record of their work search contacts while receiving unemployment compensation benefits. This information must be recorded on the Work Search form (Form AWI-UC 20A) which is available on line http://www.floridajobs.org/Unemployment/uc_claims_app_forms.html
and is also provided in the Florida Unemployment Compensation Program Booklet which is sent to all claimants. Individuals claim weeks of unemployment on a bi-weekly schedule and answer questions concerning their availability for work. At any time during the claims series, the claimant may be requested to submit their list of job contacts.

Periodically during the claim series, an eligibility review notice, AWI 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 AWI-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.

The best way to file a claim is by telephone or by internet. Telephones and computers are available at all of the One-Stop Job Center offices and you can file a claim at those locations.

3. Am I eligible for benefits if I was discharged, voluntarily quit, am self-employed, am a school employee between terms, am not able and available for work, received severance pay or wages in lieu of notice, am receiving retirement income etc.
We cannot advise you concerning eligibility prior to a claim being filed. Determinations concerning eligibility for benefits can only be made after a claim is filed as we are required to obtain the facts from you and the employer concerning these and other eligibility issues.

Filing a Claim

1. How do I file a Florida claim for unemployment compensation benefits?
A claim for unemployment compensation benefits can be filed using the Internet at www.fluidnow.com. The Internet is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. A claim may also be filed by telephone by calling toll free 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 2. The telephone center is open to process claims Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. Florida law requires that the effective date of your claim will be the Sunday prior to the day you file the claim. You may also file by mail. Claim booklets are available at the One Stop Career Centers throughout Florida. The booklet contains the form required to file your claim. You must complete the form and mail it to the address as listed in the booklet or fax it to the number listed in the booklet. The effective date of your claim will be the Sunday prior to the postmark date or the Sunday prior to the date the form is faxed to our agency. A list of the One Stop Career Centers may be found on the Internet website at http://www.floridajobs.org/onestop/onestopdir/index.htm. Computers are also available at the One Stop Career Centers so that you can file your claim using the Internet.

2. How do I file a claim against Florida if I am currently residing in another state?
If you are currently residing in another state but had employment in Florida during the base period, you may file your claim using the Internet or telephone as described in #1.

3. Can my claim be backdated to when I became unemployed?
The Florida Unemployment Compensation Law, as stated in Florida Statutes Chapter 443, requires that the effective date of your claim must be the Sunday prior to the date you file your claim. By law, your claim cannot be retroactively backdated to the date of job separation which began the period of your unemployment.

4. If I have filed a claim for Florida benefits within the past year, how do I reopen that claim after I have had intervening employment?
You should use the same procedures as described in item #1.

5. Where can I obtain the W-4V form to complete and submit so that withholding taxes will be deducted from my benefit checks?
The form W4-V can be obtained from the Internet site http://www.floridajobs.org/Unemployment/uc_claims_app_forms.html. You select “Income Tax Withholding Change Form” and print the form. The form is also available in the “Florida Unemployment Compensation Program” booklet which was mailed to you when you filed your claim by phone. You must complete the form and mail or fax it to the address or fax number listed on the form. It will take about 10 days for the changes to take effect. The request for change cannot be made by an email or telephone request.

The same form can be used if you decide that you no longer want to have withholding taxes taken out of your benefit check.

You may only change your request a maximum of two times per calendar year.

6. Can I cancel a claim that I have just filed? If so, what must I do to request that the claim be cancelled?
You can request cancel of your claim within 20 days of the date that your claim was determined, provided you have not received any monetary benefits. To cancel the claim, you must request the cancellation by writing a letter to:

Agency for Workforce Innovation
Attn: Ms. Pattie Bennett
Special Payments Unit
P.O. Drawer 5350
Tallahassee, Fl 32314-5350


In your letter, you must state the reason why you want to cancel the claim. You may also fax the written request for cancellation to (850) 921-3938. The letter must contain your social security number and your signature. Once a claim has been cancelled, it cannot be reinstated.

7. How do I establish a personal identification number (PIN)?
To set up a personal identification number (PIN) you must use either your computer or touch tone telephone. We do not send your PIN to you. The PIN is a 4 digit number of your choice. You may use any combination of numbers except four (4) zeros.

To set up your PIN using the Internet:
1. Go to the www.fluidnow.com website;
2. Scroll down, select “Claim Your Weeks”;
3. Select your language option;
4. Enter your residential state and zip code
5. In the second paragraph, you will select the underlined option “To establish or change your personal identification number (PIN), please click here.
6. You will then need to follow the instructions of entering your social security number and your PIN of exactly any four numbers except four zeros.

To set up your PIN using your touch tone telephone:

1. Call the toll free telephone number 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 4 –
Rapid Service Voice Processing (RSVP).
2. Listen and follow the instructions of the automated voice and make the selection to
"Establish or change your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).
3. Listen and follow the instructions to "establish" your 4-digit PIN. Your PIN may be
any four numbers except four zeros.

8. What do I do if I am unable to establish a PIN using the instructions above or the system is telling me that I already have an existing PIN?
You must call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and ask the representative to reset your PIN. You will then be able to establish a PIN using either the Internet or your touch tone telephone.

9. How do I change my PIN?
Follow the instructions in item # 7 or you may call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and ask the representative to reset your PIN. You will then be able establish a new PIN either by using the Internet or your touch tone telephone.


Wage Transcript

1. What is the purpose of the Wage Transcript and Determination?
The Wage Transcript and Determination notifies you whether you have had sufficient work and earnings in “covered employment” to establish a monetarily eligible claim. The only earnings that can be used to determine eligibility are those earned during the base period of your claim. The base period is shown on the form. This base period is determined in accordance with the Florida Unemployment Compensation law in Florida Statutes Chapter 443.036(5) as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. The determination will list all the employers that have reported wage information and paid unemployment compensation taxes to the Department of Revenue on your wages in the base period.

You have to have been employed in “covered employment” in the base period to be eligible. “Covered employment” is employment that was performed for an employer who pays unemployment compensation taxes to the Department of Revenue or reimburses the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund for benefits paid. The Unemployment Compensation Program is entirely funded through taxes paid by employers. There are no deductions from your pay to fund this program.

If you are monetarily eligible, your weekly benefit amount and total available credits are also shown on the form. If you are not monetarily eligible, one of the boxes under “Ineligible” will be X’d to advise you of the reason for your monetary ineligibility.

If you have been determined monetarily eligible, that does not necessarily mean you are eligible to receive benefits. It only means you had sufficient work and earnings in the base period to establish a claim. The reason for separation from your last or possibly next to the last employer must be investigated to determine if you separated from the employer under nondisqualifying conditions. Other eligibility conditions must also be met in order to receive benefits. Some of the other eligibility requirements are listed on page 10 of the Unemployment Compensation Program Booklet that was mailed to you. The booklet may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/uc_bri.html.

2. How are the weekly benefit amount and maximum available credits calculated?

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.

As required by Florida law, the base period is the first four of the last five completed quarters. For claims filed during April, May and June of 2007, the base period is January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006. To calculate the weekly benefit amount, use the quarter in the base period with the highest earnings. Divide the earnings in that quarter by 26. This figure will be your weekly benefit amount. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $32 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $275. To calculate your maximum available credits, you divide your total wages in the base period as shown on the Wage Transcript and Determination by four (4). This figure will be the benefits you have available to receive if you are determined otherwise eligible. The total amount of available credits can range from a minimum of $850 to a maximum of $7150 depending on your earnings in the base period.

The wage transcript also informs you of the effective date of your claim and the ending date of the benefit year. You have a one year period, the benefit year, to use the maximum available credits. That does not mean you are entitled to a year of benefits. To calculate the number of weeks to which you are entitled, divide the maximum available credits by the weekly benefit amount. This figure will be the number of weeks for which you may be paid. The maximum number of weeks a claimant may receive regular benefits in Florida is twenty six (26) weeks.

If you exhaust your regular benefits prior to the end of your “benefit year”, an extended benefit claim will be established automatically and a determination letter sent to you. If you do not receive an Extended Benefit determination letter within 7 days after you claimed your last weeks of unemployment, contact us at 1-800-204-2418, option 0, for assistance. On your extended benefit claim you will be paid your current weekly benefit amount and a maximum payable amount of ½ of the original Maximum Available Credits on your current claim.

If you exhaust all of your benefits, including extended benefits, prior to the end of your “benefit year”, you cannot file another Florida claim until your benefit year expires.

3. I do not understand the wage transcript as the block “No wage credits, Insufficient wage credits or Other” box has been X’d.
If one of these boxes under “Ineligible” on the Wage Transcript and Determination has an “X” in it, then it has been determined that you do not have sufficient work and earnings in “covered employment” in the base period in Florida to establish a monetarily eligible claim. If you have proof that the earnings reported are incorrect, instructions for filing a request for reconsideration or an appeal are provided on the reverse side of the wage transcript.

4. I have questions concerning the wage transcript. Who can provide answers to my questions?
Please call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a customer service representative will assist you.

5. How do I file a request for reconsideration if the information on the wage transcript is incorrect?
Instructions for requesting reconsideration or filing an appeal to the Wage Transcript and Determination are on the reverse side of the form. You may call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 for assistance with the request for reconsideration of your wage transcript.

Adjudication

1. Why does the adjudicator contact me to obtain information concerning my separation from my last or next to the last employer?
The reason for separation from your last employer determines whether you are eligible to receive benefits. If you have not earned seventeen times your weekly benefit amount with the last employer, the reason for separation from your next to the last employer may also affect your eligibility for benefits. The adjudicator is required to investigate your separation(s) by obtaining the facts concerning your separation from you and your employer(s). The adjudicator must determine if you were separated from the employer(s) under nondisqualifying or disqualifying conditions. The adjudicator must also determine if you meet all other eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation in Florida Statutes Chapter 443. When the investigation is complete, the adjudicator will issue a written determination(s) which is mailed to the claimant and the employer.

2. If I disagree with the adjudicator’s determination, how do I file an appeal?
Instructions for filing an appeal are included in the Unemployment Compensation Program booklet that was mailed to you and is also available on the Internet site www.fluidnow.com/appeals . You must complete the form and submit the appeal using the Internet or you may request an appeal in writing. If you file an appeal using the Internet site, follow the prompts and submit the completed form. If you wish to request an appeal in writing, you must mail or fax your request to the address or fax number below. Be sure and include your social security number and signature on your written request.

Office of Appeals
MSC 347, Caldwell Building
107 East Madison Street
Tallahassee, Fl 32399-4143
Fax: 850-921-3524

Requesting an appeal by electronic email letter cannot be accepted as there is no signature on the document.

Questions and answers about the appeal process are located at the web site www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/applinfo.html .

Certifying For Weeks

1. Waiting Week
The first week for which you certify is the waiting week. A waiting week is required on all claims and is a week for which you will not be paid.

2. I have moved since the last report on my claim. How do I change my address?

You can change your address online when you certify for your weeks. The address will be changed immediately and if you receive your payment in the form of a paper check, it will be sent to your new address.

If you certify for your weeks via phone have your address changed before you certify for your weeks by calling the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a claims representative will verify your identity and then change your address. You may then certify for weeks.

Note: When you claim your weeks, you will be asked if your address has changed since your last report day. If your address has already been changed by a claims representative, DO NOT answer ‘yes’ to that question. If you answer ‘yes’, your claim will be stopped and you will not be able to claim your weeks until you speak to a claims representative and they remove the stop from your claim.

3. I am working part-time. How do I report my earnings?
A claim week for unemployment compensation starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Earnings must be reported in the week earned, even if you have not been paid. You must report your total gross earnings before deductions. Part-time earnings, over $52, will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. Earnings less than $52 will have no effect on your weekly benefit amount. If your gross earnings for a claim week are equal to or greater than your weekly benefit amount, no unemployment compensation benefits will be paid to you for that week. You do not lose the benefits, the benefits are just not paid for that week. The benefits remain as available credits.

4. I am waiting for a determination to be made on my claim or I was disqualified from receiving benefits but have filed an appeal. Why do I need to continue to claim my weeks of unemployment?
If you are unemployed, you must continue to claim weeks as scheduled while the determination or appeal is pending. Only eligible weeks that have been claimed as scheduled may be paid if the determination or appeals decision is in your favor.

5. I made a mistake when claiming my weeks by Internet or telephone. How can I correct the error?
You can call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and the customer service representative will assist you with correcting the information.

6. I have not received any benefit checks. How can I find out the status of my claim?
You can call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and the customer service representative will advise concerning the status of your claim.

7. I was receiving benefits and they have stopped. How can I find out why my benefits have been suspended?
You can call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and the customer service representative will advise you concerning the reason why your benefits have been suspended or have ended.

8. I certified for the first two weeks of unemployment but the first check I received was only for one week. Why was I only paid for one week?
The first time you certify for benefits, you are certifying for two weeks. The first week is a required waiting week, a week for which no benefits are paid. Every claim must have one valid waiting week for each benefit year. The second week is actually your first payable week so the first check is always for one week only.

 

9. How do I change my method of payment from receiving a warrant by mail to direct deposit or vice versa?
When claiming your weeks using the Internet or the telephone, each time the system will give you the option to make a change concerning how your benefits are paid to you. If you make a change to electronic transfer and deposit, it will take about 7 to 10 days for the change to be effective as the account number and routing number must be verified with your banking institution. If you change from electronic transfer and deposit to having a paper benefit check mailed to you, the weeks for which you are currently certifying will be paid electronically. The change to the mailed paper warrant will be effective the next time you call in to certify for weeks.

10. The amount of my benefit check is incorrect. How can I obtain additional information concerning my check?
You can call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a customer service representative will explain the amount of your benefit check.

11. I am unable to claim my weeks because the system is down or not working properly. What should I do?
The system is rarely inoperable but may be extremely busy at times. Depending on the social security number, claimants in Florida are scheduled to claim weeks on Monday or Tuesday, using the Internet or telephone so that benefits can be paid as expeditiously as possible. If you have difficulty claiming your weeks, please wait and try again a little later. The Internet and telephone system to claim weeks is generally available Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. If there is a problem with the system, we are aware of it immediately and will be working on the solution. If you want additional assistance, please call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a claims representative will assist you.

12. I have returned to work. How do I report this information?
This information should be reported when you claim your weeks. If you started to work during the week(s) you are claiming you must answer “yes” to the question, “Did you work or have any earnings during the week?” You must report your gross earnings in the week that you earned the money not when you are paid.

If the date you started to work was after the last week for which you were paid benefits, you must stop certifying for benefits. When you stop certifying for weeks, your claim will automatically go into an inactive status.

All employers in Florida are required to report “New Hires” to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue is responsible for the collection of unemployment compensations taxes from the employers. As this “New Hire” information could also affect eligibility for benefits, the Department of Revenue electronically transmits this information to our agency on a daily basis. This information is then associated daily with the appropriate claim by social security number. The unemployment compensation claim is flagged to suspend payments and the claimant will be interviewed concerning any weeks that are claimed after the “New Hire” date supplied by the employer. If you have been paid unemployment compensation benefits for weeks that you were employed, an overpayment will be established and you will be required to reimburse the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund for the benefits to which you were not entitled.

13. The system tells me that I do not have any weeks for which I need to certify because my claim is exhausted. I do not think that is correct. How do I obtain more information?
Review the Wage Transcript and Determination that you received concerning your benefits. On this determination you were advised of your weekly benefit amount and how much you had in “available credits.” The “available credits” is the total amount in benefits you may be eligible to receive. If you divide the “available credits” by the weekly benefit amount, the answer is the number of weeks you may be paid. If you have been paid this number of weeks, you have exhausted all your benefits for your benefit year.

If you exhaust all of your benefits prior to the end of your “benefit year”, an extended benefit claim will be established automatically and a determination letter sent to you. If you do not receive an Extended Benefit determination letter within 7 days after you claimed your last weeks of unemployment, contact us at 1-800-204-2418, option 0, for assistance. On your extended benefit claim you will be paid your current weekly benefit amount and a maximum payable amount of ½ of the original Maximum Available Credits on your current claim.

If you think the system is not correct concerning weeks available to claim, call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a customer service representative will assist you with your questions.

14. My claim is exhausted. Am I eligible for an extension?

If you exhaust all of your benefits prior to the end of your “benefit year”, an extended benefit claim will be established automatically and a determination letter sent to you. If you do not receive an Extended Benefit determination letter within 7 days after you claimed your last weeks of unemployment, contact us at 1-800-204-2418, option 0, for assistance. On your extended benefit claim you will be paid your current weekly benefit amount and a maximum payable amount of ½ of the original Maximum Available Credits on your current claim.

Request for documents

1. How can I obtain a copy of the claim history showing what benefits have been paid to me and/or that my benefits are exhausted?
You can call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and the customer service representative will assist you with your request.

2. I am filing my income taxes and I need the Form 1099G showing the amount of benefits paid and the amount of withholding tax which was forwarded to the IRS. How do I obtain this document?
The Form 1099-G is mailed to you by January 31st following the end of the previous calendar year. The form is mailed to your last official address of record on your claim. If you change your address and there is an active forwarding address on file with the post office, the form will be forwarded to your new address.

If you did not receive your Form 1099-G due to an address change, you must mail or FAX a change of address containing your name, old and new address, county of residence, social security number and signature to:

Agency for Workforce Innovation
Special Payments Unit
P.O. Drawer 5350
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350.
FAX # (850) 921--3938
Your letter must also include the calendar year requested.

You may also request a duplicate Form 1099-G by telephone or by Internet. To request a duplicate by telephone, you must call the Claims Assistance Center toll-free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0. If you request the duplicate Form 1099-G by Internet, your request should be sent to 1099G@awi.state.fl.us. Your request must include your name, social security number, previous mailing address on your claim, the new address and the specific calendar year requested.

If you have questions concerning the amount of benefits received or tax withheld shown on the form, you should call the Claims Assistance Center toll-free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a customer service representative will assist you with your inquiries.

3. How do I obtain a copy of the Form W-4V to request that withholding tax be deducted from my benefits or to stop having withholding tax deducted from my benefits?
The Form W-4V, Income Tax Withholding Change Form, is on page 15 of the Unemployment Compensation Program Booklet that you received when you filed your claim. Instructions for completing the form are printed on the form.

The form is also available on the Internet site www.fluidnow.com. You select “Unemployment Compensation Forms” then select “Claims and Appeals Forms” and then select “Income Tax Withholding Change Form.” Instructions for completing the form are printed on the form.

The completed form must be mailed or faxed to the address below:

Agency for Workforce Innovation
P.O. Box 5300
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5300
FAX # (850) 921-3865

Allow ten (10) working days for the changes to take effect.

Obtaining Information on a claim

1. I have questions concerning my claim. Who can answer these questions for me?
Please call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a claims representative will be glad to assist you. You will be required to provide identifying information before any claim information will be released.

2. I want to know if my spouse, ex-spouse, father or mother of my child, relative, neighbor etc. is receiving unemployment compensation benefits. How can I obtain this information?
Florida unemployment compensation records are confidential and protected as stated in Florida Statutes 443.041(3) and 443.1715. Information concerning a claim may only be provided to the individual who actually filed the claim, an employer who is requested to supply information concerning the claim or a public official in the performance of their public duties e.g. police officer, child welfare etc.

3. I am entitled to child support payments. I want to know if child support payments are being deducted from a person’s unemployment compensation benefits. How can I obtain this information?
Again, this information is confidential and cannot be released to individuals other than the claimant. The Agency for Workforce Innovation does not determine if child support should be deducted from benefits. The child support information is received from the Department of Revenue. When our agency receives information from the Department of Revenue, then our agency begins deducting the amount of child support as directed by the Department of Revenue. If you have questions concerning child support relating to unemployment compensation benefits, please contact the Department of Revenue toll free at 1-800-622-5437.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION APPEALS

http://www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/uc_appeals_default.html
...the Appeals Process
1. How do I appeal an unemployment compensation determination?
2. How much time do I have to file an appeal?
3. Can I see the status of my appeal on the AWI web site?
4. What will happen after I file an appeal?
5. When will my hearing be scheduled?
6. Will I get a copy of my case file?
7. How do I provide my telephone number for the hearing?
8. Is participating in the hearing important?
9. Can I request a postponement?
10. What happens if I don’t participate?
11. How long will the hearing last?
12. Will I have a chance to tell my side of the story?
13. Why is the hearing recorded?
14. Why was a hearing scheduled?
15. Why is this hearing important?
16. What are my rights at the hearing?
17. What are the hearing procedures?
18. How can I arrange for witnesses?
19. Can I withdraw my appeal?
20. What should I do if I missed my hearing?
21. What evidence should I provide?
22. How can I show I filed my appeal on time?
23. How can I prove I looked for work?
24. Should I hire an attorney?
25. What if I need a translator?
26. How do I know the hearing will be fair?
27. When will I receive a decision?
28. What if I disagree with the decision?
29. What if I disagree with the Commission’s Order?
30. Will the information about my appeal still be confidential after the hearing?
31. Where can I find more information about appeals?

1. How do I appeal an unemployment compensation determination?
If you were adversely affected by a determination, you may file an appeal by following the prompts on our website at www.fluidnow.com/appeals. The confirmation number you receive at the end of the process will be your proof of filing. Other filing methods include writing the appeal on a letter or on the Notice of Appeal form provided in English, Spanish and Creole at appeal forms. Include the claimant’s name and social security number and a brief statement about why you believe the determination is incorrect. Mail written appeals to:
Office of Appeals - MSC 347
107 E Madison Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-4143
Instead of mailing, you may fax the appeal to (850) 921-3524. We encourage you to file appeals on our secure website because we receive them immediately and your information is safe. However, to help you prevent identity theft, we do not accept appeals filed by telephone or e-mail.

2. How much time do I have to file an appeal?
An appeal must be filed within 20 calendar days after the mailing date shown on the determination. If the 20th day is a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or other day when the post office is closed, the filing period is extended to the next business day. If filed on the Agency website, the date shown on the confirmation sheet will be considered the filing date. If filed by mail, the postmark date affixed by the United States Postal Service will be considered the date of filing. If filed by fax or a delivery service other than the USPS, the date received in the Office of Appeals will be considered the date of filing.

3. Can I see the status of my appeal on the AWI website?
Yes. If you filed your appeal on the website, the case status will be available on the website the next day at www.fluidnow.com/appeals. After reading the available options on the first page, click Continue, then select Check Status of a Case and follow the prompts. If you filed your appeal by mail or by fax, the case status will usually be available on line about one week later.

4. What will happen after I file an appeal?
A telephone hearing will be scheduled. All parties will be notified of the hearing date and time and have an opportunity to participate the hearing conference call. An Appeals Information pamphlet enclosed with the Notice of Telephone Hearing will tell you how to prepare for the telephone hearing. After the hearing, the appeals referee will prepare and mail a written decision.

5. When will my hearing be scheduled?
The Office of Appeals schedules hearings in the order the appeals are received. When the unemployment rate is high, it may take a few weeks for a hearing to be scheduled. We try very hard to resolve each case within 45 days after the appeal is received.

6. Will I get a copy of the case file?
A copy of the documents available to the appeals referee will be enclosed with the Notice of Telephone Hearing. Review and have these documents with you during the hearing. If you wish to have other documents considered, you must mail a copy to the appeals referee and all addresses shown on the Notice of Telephone Hearing, even if you previously provided the documents.

7. How do I provide my telephone number for the hearing?
The appeals referee will call you at the telephone number shown on the Notice of Telephone Hearing. If you should be called at a different number for the hearing, you may provide the number on-line at www.fluidnow.com/appeals or notify the deputy clerk whose name, address, and telephone number appear on the Notice of Telephone Hearing.

8. Is participating in the hearing important?
YES! If the claimant does not participate and loses a case, benefits will be denied and the claimant must repay benefits received. If the employer does not participate and loses a case, its tax rate may be adversely affected for the next three years. Reimbursing employers who lose a case must repay the trust fund for benefits paid to the claimant based on employment with the reimbursing employer.

9. Can I request a postponement?
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. Include the reason you cannot participate and what, if any, attempts you made to re-arrange your schedule so you could participate. The referee will let you know if the request is granted. If a reply is not received, assume the request was denied. Be available for the hearing and prepared to present your case.

10. 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 don’t participate, your information will not be considered. If you filed the appeal and do not participate, your case will be dismissed.

11. How long will the hearing last?
Most hearings are finished in less than an hour; however, hearings with complex issues or several witnesses may last longer.

12. Will I have a chance to tell my side of the story?
Yes. The appeals referee will ask questions about the issue and provide an opportunity for you to add your own comments and evidence.

13. Why is the hearing recorded?
There are further appeal rights if a party disagrees with the referee’s decision. If a second level appeal is filed, the Unemployment Appeals Commission needs the hearing recording to conduct its review.

14. Why was a hearing scheduled?
A hearing was scheduled because an Agency determination was appealed. Participating in the hearing is important, even if the other party filed the appeal.

15. Why is this hearing important?
The decision from this hearing will replace the determination that was appealed. Only one hearing level is provided by law. To protect your rights, you must participate even if the other party filed the appeal. If you cannot attend as scheduled, immediately follow the instructions in Section 9 to request rescheduling. Otherwise, you may receive an unfavorable decision. A claimant who receives 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. Be prepared to present evidence on all issues listed on the Notice of Hearing. The decision will be based only on evidence presented at the hearing. A second appeal level exists, but includes only a review of the existing record, not a new hearing.

16. What are my rights at the hearing?
As a party, you have the right to:
• Testify in your own behalf;
• Present documents and other evidence;
• Question your own witnesses;
• Question the opposing party’s witnesses;
• Examine and object to evidence presented;
• Explain or rebut evidence presented; and
• Make a closing statement at the end of the hearing.

 

17. What are the hearing procedures?
The appeals referee assigned to the case will:
• Obtain permission to record from each participant and electronically record the hearing.
• Explain the issues, purpose of the hearing, order of testimony, and other procedures;
• Identify the determination on appeal and make known the contents of the case file;
• Place all witnesses under oath or affirmation;
• Question parties and witnesses to obtain the facts;
• Assist parties as they question witnesses; and
• Determine if testimony and documents being offered should be received and considered.

18. How can I arrange for witnesses?
Contact and ask the witness to testify. The best witness is one who was present and has 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 deputy clerk whose name and telephone number appear on the Notice of Telephone Hearing. Instruct the witness to be available at the scheduled hearing time and to remain available until dismissed by you or the appeals referee. The referee cannot call your witnesses before or after the hearing, only during the hearing, so that all parties will hear what the witness has to say and have a chance to ask questions about the testimony. You may add your witness’ name and telephone number on the AWI website at www.fluidnow.com/appeals.

If a witness refuses to testify voluntarily, you can request a subpoena 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 provide for the hearing.

19. Can I withdraw my Appeal?
The appellant may withdraw an appeal by mail or fax to the Appeals Office address or fax number on the Notice of Hearing or to: Office of Appeals; MSC 347; 107 E Madison Street; Tallahassee FL 32399-4143. Include the claimant's Social Security number and docket number. In most situations, a withdrawn appeal cannot be reopened.

20. What should I do if I missed my hearing?
If you missed a hearing for a necessary, compelling reason, you may request re-opening within twenty calendar days after the decision was mailed. Instructions will be included on the decision. Any request for rehearing must be filed on the Internet at www.fluidnow.com/appeals, or by mailing or faxing a written request to the address or fax number on the Notice of Hearing or Decision. No other methods are permitted. Include the Docket Number or the claimant’s social security number and the reason for not attending. Only compelling and necessary reasons constitute good cause. If a 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.

21. What evidence should I provide?
The best evidence is testimony from a person who was present at an event and can answer specific questions about what happened. Claimants almost always have first-hand knowledge of the events. Employers should choose witnesses carefully to ensure competent evidence is presented. Hearsay (information learned from someone else) may be used to support other evidence, but is not sufficient by itself. (Rule 60BB-5.024, F.A.C.)

To have documents considered, mail, fax, or deliver a copy of each to the Appeals Office and all addresses on the hearing notice, before the hearing date. Do this even if you previously submitted the document to the Agency. Only documents received by the hearing officer and all parties can be considered, unless the right to view the documents is waived. All evidence becomes public record when the hearing is convened.

Most documents and affidavits are hearsay and not sufficient to prove what occurred. An employer who must rely on business records should provide a witness who can testify how the records were prepared and vouch for their authenticity. Unless they qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule, (See Chapter 90, F.S.) such evidence cannot be used as the sole basis for a finding of fact. Once the hearing is closed, no additional evidence will be accepted.

22. How do I show I filed my appeal on time?
If the appeal does not appear to have been filed within the time allowed by law, the referee will first take evidence on the timeliness of the appeal. If timeliness is listed as an issue, testimony from the person(s) who received the determination and filed the appeal would be important. The case will be dismissed without competent evidence of timely filing.

23. How do I prove I looked for work?
If the issue is whether you were able and available for work, send a copy of your work search contact sheets to the Appeals Office before the hearing. Include each job contact date and method, as well as each employer contact’s name and address. If you don’t have time to mail the work search contact sheet, have the information available at the hearing so that you can provide specific information to the appeals referee.

24. Should I hire an attorney?
Professional representation is not required and most people represent themselves at unemployment hearings. You have the right to be represented by an attorney or authorized representative at your own expense. Fees for representing a claimant must be approved by the appeals referee, but paid by the claimant. 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 Appeals Office to ensure all notices are sent to that person.

25. What if I need a translator?
The hearing will be in English. Translation will be arranged for claimants who indicate a primary language other than English when filing for benefits. If a translator is needed and the Notice of Telephone Hearing does not say a translator was arranged, have the deputy clerk contacted at once to advise what language is needed so translation arrangements can be made. The deputy clerk’s telephone number is on the Notice of Telephone Hearing.

26. How do I know the hearing will be fair?
The appeals referee is required by law to be impartial and issue a decision based on competent evidence. The appeals referee is responsible for conducting a fair hearing, questioning the witnesses, and protecting the basic rights of each party. The appeals referee cannot discuss the case with any party before or after the hearing.

27. When will I receive a decision?
A decision will be mailed to all parties 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.

28. What if I disagree with the decision?
If you disagree with the referee’s decision, follow the directions on the decision to request review of the case by the Unemployment Appeals Commission(UAC). Any request for review must be filed within 20 calendar days after the decision was mailed. The UAC 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 UAC will mail a written order to all parties which may affirm or reverse the decision or send the case back to Appeals for another hearing if a significant error occurred. You can file a request for review by mail to
Unemployment Appeals Commission
Suite 101, Rhyne Building
2740 Centerview Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399-4151
You may fax a written request for review to 850-488-2123 or file the request for review online at https://www.uac.fl.gov/Appeal.aspx. If mailed, the postmark date will be the filing date. If faxed, hand-delivered, delivered by courier service other than the United States Postal Service, or submitted via the Internet, the date of receipt will be the filing date. To avoid delay, include the docket number and claimant’s social security number.

29. What if I disagree with the Commission’s Order?
Commission Orders include information for filing appeals to the appropriate Florida District Court of Appeal.

30. Will the information about my appeal still be confidential after the hearing?
No, except for the claimant’s social security number, appeal information becomes public record when the hearing is convened.

31. Where can I find more information about appeals?
Information about the appeals process, law, regulations, and resources can be found online at www.fluidnow.com/appealsl. The address, telephone, and fax numbers of the Appeals Office where your case was assigned is shown on the Notice of Telephone Hearing, as well as the name of the deputy clerk who can be contacted to provide your telephone number for the hearing or receive information. A complete list of Appeals Offices is shown on the last page of this pamphlet. Include the docket number or claimant’s social security number on all correspondence

Overpayments and Fraud

1. How do I report information to your agency if I believe an individual is working and fraudulently claiming benefits?
You can make the report using the Internet at the website www.fluidnow.com. Under “Quicklinks”, select “Report UC Fraud.” You will be provided with a form to complete which can then be submitted electronically.

You may also report fraud by calling toll free 1-800-342-9909 or by submitting the information in writing to:

Benefit Payment Control
P.O. Drawer 5150
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5150

You are not required to provide your name when providing possible fraud “tips.” We accept anonymous tips. If we are able to contact you concerning the tip, please include your name and a telephone number where you can be contacted. Please provide as much information as possible so that the information can be fully investigated.

2. Where did you get the information that I worked while receiving benefits?
This information is reported to our agency from numerous sources. We receive the information from employers, tips, agency personnel offices and other states.

3. I have an overpayment of unemployment compensation benefits. To what address do I send the payment to pay back the overpayment?
The check or money order should be made payable to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and mailed to the address below:

Benefit Payment Control
P.O. Drawer 5050
Tallahassee, Fl 32314-5050

Be sure to include your social security number with your payment.

4. How can I be overpaid? I paid into this fund for years so it’s my money.
Employees in Florida do not pay into the Unemployment Compensation Fund. There are no deductions made from your wages to finance this program. The program is entirely funded by the taxes paid and reimbursements by the employers in Florida.

5. I did not receive all the money you now say I must pay back. Why do I have to pay back more than I received?
At the time you filed your unemployment compensation claim, you requested that federal taxes be withheld from your weekly unemployment benefits. The funds withheld were sent to the federal government on your behalf. You must repay there funds as well as the money you actually received. When the funds withheld for tax purposes and sent to the federal government are repaid, there is a provision that will allow you to take a tax credit when you file your income tax report.

6. I am unemployed. How can I pay back this money owed?
If you are presently unemployed, file a claim and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. If you are eligible, the weeks that you claim that are payable will be used to pay back your overpayment.


7. What happens if I do not pay back the overpayment?
Listed below are the actions available to the Agency in order to collect outstanding overpayments.
a. Unemployment Compensation fraud is a third degree felony. Fraud cases will be filed with the state attorney for possible prosecution.
b. Non-fraud cases are filed in civil court and with a private collection agency.
c. When a new claim is filed, each week for which you certify and are eligible for benefits will be used to pay back the outstanding overpayment balances.
d. Lottery winnings are withheld to pay back an unemployment compensation overpayment.

8. How can I set up a repayment plan?
There is no need to contact the Agency to set up a repayment plan. Simply begin to send monthly payments when you receive your monthly statement

9. How much should I pay each month to pay back the overpayment?
The monthly required amount is based on the amount of the overpayment. The amount agreed upon must reduce the amount of the overpayment to zero within a reasonable time. It is recommended that you pay ten per cent (10%) of the total amount due each month.

10. What if I cannot afford 10% of the balance due?
Pay what you can. The important thing is to pay something each month, no matter how small. As long as you are making consistent monthly payments, additional collection actions will not be taken.

11. I made a payment last month. Why doesn’t it show on the monthly statement?
The closing date for the statement is shown at the top of the statement. Any payments received after the closing date will be posted to the next month’s statement.

12. I received a summons in the mail stating I am being sued for an overpayment. Why wasn’t I previously notified of the overpayment?
When it was determined that you were overpaid, a written determination was mailed to your most current official address of record on your claim. The determination advised you regarding the amount of the overpayment and provided instructions regarding how to pay back the debt. Monthly statements were also mailed to you. You must either make an agreement with the agency to pay back the overpayment or the case is prepared for court action.

13. My case is being filed in civil court and I received a request for payment in the mail. How can I set up a payment arrangement?
An “Acceptance of Service and Answer/ Stipulation for Entry of Conditional Judgment” form was mailed to you. You must complete and return the form before the pretrial hearing date. If the agreement is not received by that date, a default judgment will be issued.

14. To what address do I send the completed “Acceptance of Service and Answer/Stipulation for Entry of Conditional Judgment” form?
When the form was sent to you, a preaddressed envelope was included for your convenience. If you have misplaced this envelope your completed agreement should be mailed to:

Benefit Payment Control
P.O. Drawer 5150
Tallahassee, Fl 32314-5150

Upon receipt of the completed agreement, you will receive a copy with the judge’s signature and the signature of an Agency representative to prove receipt and acceptance of the agreement.


15. I made a repayment agreement by telephone. Do I still need to complete and return the “Acceptance of Service and Answer/Stipulation for Entry of Conditional Judgment” form?
Yes. You must return the completed form to show written proof of the amount you have agreed to pay back each month until the debt is paid in full. Since the case has been filed in civil court, a “good faith, verbal” agreement is not acceptable.

16. Why do I have to pay court fees if I sign and return the completed “stipulation” agreement?
You are required to pay the cost associated with the collection action because your case has already been filed in civil court. Our agency must recoup the cost of the court fees.

Employer Information

Employer Information And Instructions Concerning Unemployment Compensation Claims

The Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) must determine the eligibility of each claim. Please respond promptly to all AWI requests for information. If benefits are to be paid to eligible individuals and withheld from ineligible individuals, your cooperation is important. Prompt and accurate information from employers is essential to the establishment of the claimant’s right to benefits. Also, providing information in a prompt manner will help in protecting your UC tax rate.

You may respond online at https://www.floridajobs.org/AENR/ or by mail or fax to the address / fax number printed on the back side of the UCB-412.

When an unemployment compensation claim is filed, a Form UCB-412, Determination Notice of Unemployment Compensation Claim Filed, is mailed to all base period employers and to any employers subsequent to the “base period.” The “base period” is defined as the first four of the last five completed quarters preceding the date that the claim is filed. If you receive this notice, and you have information that may affect the claimant’s eligibility for benefits, a reply should be submitted promptly in order to avoid any improper payments to the claimant. If you have paid wages to the claimant in the base period, the Form UCB-412 will show the claimant’s name, social security number, the claimant’s potential available credits to receive in benefits and the percentage of benefits potentially chargeable to the employer’s UC experience rating account.

It is extremely important for you to provide detailed information concerning the questions on the UCB-412. Your statement should contain important facts such as exact dates, times and places that incidents occurred, names of witnesses, dates and topics of warnings issued whether verbal or written, references to company rules and regulations, union contacts, commission agreements and any other pertinent documents. Your information should include the exact reason or final incident that caused the claimant’s separation. In the absence of information from the employer, the individual’s eligibility will be based on the claimant’s statement and all other information available at that time. If the claimant was separated due to lack of work, you do not need to complete and return the form.

When an eligibility determination is issued, all parties affected by the determination will receive a written copy of the determination. If the adversely affected party disagrees with the determination, they have the right to file an appeal and request a formal hearing before an appeals referee. The request must be made within 20 days from the mailing date of the determination. Instructions for filing an appeal are provided above in the category “Appeals.”

Unemployment compensation benefits paid to eligible claimants are paid from the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and are charged to the employer on a pro rata basis. The potential percentage chargeable is based on the employer’s pro rata portion of the total wages paid to the claimant in the base period of the claim. For example, if there are only two base period employers and each paid the claimant $3000 in the base period, each employer would be chargeable with 50 per cent of the benefits paid to the claimant.

If it is determined that an individual was separated under disqualifying conditions, has refused suitable work or it is established that the claimant received benefits improperly, benefits paid will not be charged to the account of the taxpaying employer. However, to be eligible for noncharging, the taxpaying employer must have furnished the required information to the Unemployment Compensation Claims and Benefits of the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Benefits shall not be charged to a taxpaying employer’s account if the claimant was discharged for unsatisfactory job performance during an established 90 day initial employment probationary period providing, (1) the employee was informed of the probationary period within the first seven work days, and (2) the employer replied to the Form UCB-412, Determination Notice of Unemployment Compensation Claim Filed, within the ten day time limit.

If additional assistance is needed, please call the Claims Assistance Center toll free at 1-800-204-2418. Choose the language and then option 0 and a claims representative can assist your with your inquiries.

Employer Requests for Information Concerning Their Unemployment Compensation Tax Account.

The Agency for Workforce Innovation is responsible for the administration of the Florida Unemployment Compensation Law as stated in Florida Statutes Chapter 443 as it relates to benefits. This agency issues the determinations concerning whether unemployment compensation benefits will be paid or denied and whether the employer’s account will be charged.

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the collection of unemployment compensation taxes, maintenance of the employer’s experience rating tax accounts, assessing interest and penalties and establishing new employer UC tax accounts. If you have a request or question concerning an unemployment compensation tax account, please contact the Department of Revenue toll free at 1-800-482-8293 or use the Internet at www.myflorida.com/dor/uc and follow the prompts.

Listed on the left side of the page is “The Florida Unemployment Compensation Employer Handbook.” This handbook, along with the unemployment compensation tax overview, will provide you with much information concerning the separate Unemployment Compensation Tax and Benefits Programs.

If you have a request or question concerning any of the items listed below, please contact the Department of Revenue through the methods described above.

1. Need to establish a new UC account in Florida.
2. Need blank quarterly tax forms to complete and submit
3. Need copies of previously submitted quarterly UC tax reports
4. Request change of address on the UC account
5. Questioning charges to your UC tax account
6. Want to protest the UC tax rate, interest and/or penalties assessed on the account
7. Request for tax rate information for Florida
8. Need the required posters concerning UC which must be posted in the place of business


Revised 10/08



 



 


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