Over the weekend more than 200,000 Floridians were deemed ineligible for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance benefits. Many that were deemed ineligible are still likely eligible for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program or PUA. So, if you logged in this week and found that you were ineligible, read on to see what you should do next.
Q: What should I do if my account says I’m ineligible but I should be?
A: Try to figure out why you are ineligible. Read through the requirements from DEO’s Resource Guide. DEO says there are numerous reasons why someone could be deemed ineligible for state benefits. Wage base period issues, lack of wage history, too many claims in one year, incomplete applications, and separation circumstances are some of these reasons. You should receive a notification about why you’re ineligible but many are not.
Base period issues are the most common issue. If you applied in March 2020, the base period is October/November/December 2018, January/February/March 2019, April/May/June 2019, and July/August/September 2019 (4 quarters). If you didn’t start working until January 2019 or your wages weren’t high enough during months prior to January 2019, you might want to try to reapply now since your base period would start January 2019 instead of October 2018. I know… it's complicated.
Q: I’m ineligible because I’m self-employed or some other state reason. Do I get anything at all?
A: PUA is a federal program. So, in order to qualify, you have to be deemed ineligible by your state first. If you’re self-employed, filed an application 4/5 or later, and have been deemed ineligible already, then you should see a link to apply for PUA benefits in the menu on the left-hand side of your Connect page. If you applied BEFORE 4/5, you’ll need to REAPPLY for benefits, wait to be deemed ineligible again, then you’ll see the link appear in the left menu for you to apply for PUA benefits.
Q: I was deemed ineligible but I shouldn’t have been.
A: If you think you shouldn’t have been deemed ineligible, you should consider an appeal. You can find information for how to do this by looking up the DEO Claimant Guide. The steps for appeal are outlined on page 91. You can also make an attempt to contact the DEO by phone but nobody is having much luck getting through to a representative that actually has access to individual accounts and can help.