Florida Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment Insurance is Vital for Floridians and the Economy
Let’s fix our broken system
Unemployment (UI) is a vital first responder in an economic crisis. But after years of subpar funding, Florida’s UI system was unable to respond effectively. To prevent a prolonged recession, we must keep money in people’s pockets so they can buy groceries, pay bills and energize businesses.
We’re calling on our public officials to fix the UI system, and your stories can help. If you have a tale to tell about trying to get your money—or trying to live on what you get—we want to hear it.
Unemployment Payments Power the Recovery
When Floridians spend money, they’re helping our economy
The percentage drop in consumer spending estimated to result from eliminating federal unemployment payments authorized due to the pandemic.
The Effect of Fiscal Stimulus, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2020
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Read the answers to these frequently asked questions and get started.
Changes to the UI system in 2011 by the Florida legislature and then Governor Rick Scott dramatically reduced benefits and made them harder to get. The overhaul included:
- Cutting the duration of benefits from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of 12 to 23 weeks: The length of time you can receive benefits is based on the state unemployment rate. You’re eligible for up to 12 weeks if the unemployment rate is at or below 5%, with an additional week for each additional 0.5 percentage point (to a maximum of 23 weeks if the unemployment rate reaches 10.5%).
- Adding a 45-question “initial skills assessment”
- Creating new work search requirements: You must contact at least 5 prospective employers a week to retain benefits
- Nearly eliminating the business tax that funds the benefits program: From 2011 to 2018, Florida employers went from paying an average of $7.10 in unemployment insurance taxes for every $1,000 in employees’ wages, to paying just $1.50 in unemployment taxes for every $1,000 in wages. Florida’s average yearly unemployment-insurance tax of $50 per employee is the lowest rate in the country and less than one-fifth of the national average.
- Requiring all claims be filed online
If you lost your job, were put on furlough or had your hours cut or reduced to zero through no fault of your own, you can apply online to receive payments and get help finding work. Your weekly unemployment payment is determined based on your earnings while you were employed. The maximum weekly amount is currently $275.
Employees who lost their job through no fault of their own or have been furloughed qualify for unemployment. Employees who quit their jobs or were fired for cause are not eligible. You can apply online to receive payments and get help finding work.
You may also be eligible for special assistance under the CARES Act if you left employment due to a risk of exposure or infection and are a member of a population that is particularly susceptible to COVID-19, or if you left your job to care for a family member who was infected with COVID-19. For details on these programs, visit this webpage.
The state determines your weekly benefit payments based on your previous earnings during employment. The maximum Florida unemployment benefit is $275 per week.
Visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website to apply.
To submit your application, you’ll need:
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license or State ID number
- Your employment information for the last 18 months for each employer:
- Name, address, and phone number
- First and last day of work
- Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) during the listed dates
- The reason for separation
- FEIN (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 pay stub
There is a sliding scale of 12 to 23 weeks: The length of time you can receive benefits is based on the state unemployment rate. You’re eligible for up to 12 weeks if the unemployment rate is at or below 5%, with an additional week for each additional 0.5 percentage point (to a maximum of 23 weeks if the unemployment rate reaches 10.5%).
When a large number of people in the community are without work and don’t have money to spend, they don’t buy food or other goods and services. That hits local businesses hard. UI is an important tool to keep families afloat and money circulating to aid in the economic recovery.
The Unemployment System is Broken—Let’s Fix It
Florida’s unemployment system has failed Floridians in their hour of need. Unemployment rates are likely to remain high throughout 2021, so for the sake of our families and our economy, we must ensure that the governor and the legislature make it right.
Help us keep money in people’s pockets so they can buy groceries and pay bills, boosting consumer spending and aiding the economic recovery. If you’ve struggled to get your unemployment payments, contact us. Sharing your story can help fix the problems.