Historic number of Floridians file for reemployment assistance amid coronavirus pandemic

Department asks for patience from those applying for unemployment benefits

Struggle to file for unemployment
Struggle to file for unemployment

MIAMI – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has seen a historic increase in the amount of Floridians filing for reemployment assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the department, Florida’s unemployment rate was at a historic low of 2.8% in January.

The department said its team has been working with a minimum number of staff members at this time and is asking the public for patience as they take action to increase their ability to serve Floridians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Below are some of the actions the department is taking:

  • Expanding the hours for the Reemployment Assistance Call Center, which is now available Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Increasing staff working on the Reemployment Assistance program, by re-tasking 35 current DEO employees to assist with Reemployment Assistance and hiring more than 100 individuals statewide to help answer calls and process applications so that individuals can receive benefits as soon as possible.
  • Working with DEO’s current vendor to expand capacity.
  • Adding server capacity to the online application for Reemployment Assistance as well as working with external interface partners to increase capacity.

The Florida government recently passed a law changing the name of the Unemployment Compensation Program to the Reemployment Assistance Program.

In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Florida, you must meet the following criteria:

· You must have lost your job through no fault of your own, so you must not have quit for personal reasons or been terminated for malicious misconduct (poor job performance does not disqualify you);

· You must be totally or partially unemployed;

· You must have a minimum amount of wages earned in what is called the "base period," which is the first four complete quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim;

· You must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work. This includes being able to get to a job and have child care if necessary.

Click here for more information about how to file an unemployment claim.

Visit employflorida.com to search job listings throughout the state.

Locally, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival has launched the SOBEWFF® & FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund to provide immediate financial support to independently owned and operated restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

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