Florida Unemployment Escalation w/Rep. Eskamani (Updated July 12, 2021)

UI Claim Escalation with Rep. Anna Eskamani

Thank you for trusting the Office of Representative Anna V. Eskamani to assist with your unemployment claim.

➡️➡️➡️➡️ Here is the link to DEO’s new Help Center ⬅️⬅️⬅️⬅️

The DEO recommends all inquiries be submitted only once per issue to help expedite assistance on cases and the processing of payments. If you are experiencing a new issue since your last submission to the DEO Help Center, please submit a new entry to reenter the help queue. The DEO has told us that locked accounts via their Help Center should be solved within days but other inquiries could take upwards of three weeks to be resolved.

Below is a review of recent DEO updates that might help w/some of your questions —

WEBSITE CRASHES: The CONNECT website continues to crash due to high traffic. DEO has encouraged people to “be patient” and try to login at a different time if website keeps crashing/resetting you in loops. They are also working to improve server capacity with a longterm goal of moving CONNECT into a cloud-based system.

Note the exemption for some furloughed workers
Here’s a breakdown how many work searches you have to do based on the County you live in.
Another break down explaining your options.
More examples of how to do the Work Search

Here’s a series of Q&A we also asked DEO to help answer based on questions provided to us by unemployed Floridians >>

1. I understand that furloughed workers who will go back to work in 8 weeks are exempt — how do they PROVE that?

  • If the claimant separates due to employer initiated furlough that is temporary and the claimant remains job attached and expected to return to work for the employer, the employer should then provide documentation. If the individual is unable to provide verifiable information concerning the furlough, job attachment and return to work with the employer, they will not be exempt from the work search requirement.
  • In response to the scenario regarding Disney workers who are still furloughed from April 2020: These individuals will have to provide written documentation from Disney verifying the furlough, that they have a job attachment and are expected to return to work with Disney to be exempt from the work search requirement.
  • The claimant would need to meet the eligibility criteria for approved training. Each criterion below must be met and are as follows:
  • Claimant must possess aptitude and skills that can be usefully supplemented by the training.
  • The labor market demands for the claimant’s present skills must be minimal.
  • The training must be a vocational, technical, internship, managerial, high school equivalency or academic program designed to prepare individuals for gainful employment.
  • There must be a reasonable expectation that the claimant will become employed upon completion of the training.
  • The training course or school must be approved by the Florida Department of Education (or other official governmental approving agency within the state where the training is being conducted.)
  • The CareerSource Center may need to be consulted to determine whether the five criterion are met.

IDENTITY VERIFICATION ISSUES:

We have seen a flood of problems with ID.me. Please see this link for guidance on how to use ID.me

  • EXTENDS PEUC: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits. PEUC was also set to expire on March 14, 2021, but the program has been extended through September 6, 2021. Additionally, eligibility weeks have been increased from 24 weeks to 53 weeks. NOTE: DEO is currently replenishing PEUC funds to reflect new end date of September 6th. If you exhaust your PEUC claim before replenishment, you will be moved into “Regular Ineligible” and will need to be moved back into PEUC.
  • EXTENDS FPUC: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program supplement of $300 per week, which was also set to expire on March 14, 2021, will be extended through September 6, 2021. HOWEVER, GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS’S ADMINISTRATION HAS ANNOUNCED THAT FPUC WILL END ON JUNE 26TH. MEUC WILL END ALSO.
  • REMEMBER… PUA claimants were being asked to submit proof of employment back in January 2021. At this point, most folks have already done this, but just in case — click here to learn more. From DEO: “Documentation to validate your employment or self-employment needs to demonstrate the existence of employment or self-employment during the start of the applicable tax year and the date of filing your initial PUA application for unemployment benefits. If your claim effective date is for the year 2020, then your applicable tax year is 2019. If your claim effective date is for the year 2021, then your applicable tax year is 2020.”
  • $10,200 NON-TAXABLE FOR 2020: Benefits recipients who earn less than $150,000 each year are not required to include the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits as income for the 2020 tax year. We are still waiting for the IRS to offer guidance on what people who already filed their taxes should do to take advantage of this benefit.
  • HAVE ISSUES WITH YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM? Please fill out DEO’s Help Center request form here.
  • MEUC: Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) is a federally funded program that provides an additional $100 per week to eligible individuals in addition to the benefits they are currently receiving. MEUC is not available to claimants who are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Claimants may be eligible for MEUC if they have received at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment for the tax year prior to their initial claim. Learn more here. Due to Governor Ron DeSantis’s decision, MEUC will end on June 26th with the FPUC Program.
  • FRAUD ISSUES: Because DEO has been clamping down harder on fraud, it’s lead to a LOT of other problems for Floridians who are doing everything right. In particular, we are seeing an uptick in Account Locks, Return to Work Holds, Incarceration Holds, and Pending Status. If you have any of these issues, please please fill out DEO’s Help Center request form here.

ACCOUNT LOCKED:

  • As noted above, most accounts that are locked are locked due to identity verification issues.
  • Any new claimant filing for Reemployment Assistance will need to verify their identity through ID.me. For more information about ID.me visit the claimant resource page, here.
  • This link provides guidance on how to use ID.me
  • If your account was unlocked and then re-locked, DEO is asking that you request assistance via their Help Center. The Help Center will redirect you to ID.me to request an account unlock. Click here to go to the Help Center.

1099-G FORM:

  • The most common uses of the 1099-G is to report unemployment compensation, as well as any state or local income tax refunds you received that year. Unemployed Floridians should be able to download their 10990-G form from their CONNECT accounts (make sure to TURN OFF your pop-up blockers when trying to download this form).
  • INCORRECT 1099-G FORM? If claimants received a 1099-G Form and they believe is incorrect and/or they would like to amend the 1099-G Form they received, they should report this online at http://1099GRequest.myflorida.com
  • 1099-G FAQ: https://floridajobs.org/.../claimant-tax.../1099-faqs.pdf...

PENDING STATUS/PENDING ADJUDICATION:

  • Here is what DEO’s says on pending adjudication, which you can read in more detail at this link. Claimants can have a “pending” monetary status for many reasons. Those in pending status are undergoing a qualifying process in order to continue receiving benefits. DEO encourages those with a pending status to check on your CONNECT account every 48 hours.

BACKDATING CLAIMS:

DEO has a backlog a backdating claims. You need to call DEO to backdate your claim. The number is 833-FL-APPLY (1–833–352- 7759)

  • The Department’s process of backdating Reemployment Assistance claims includes thorough research to ensure the claimant’s eligibility for backdating and to ensure the backdate does not negatively impact the claimant’s claim.
  • Eligibility is based, in part, on the type of program the claimant is participating in, the reason why the claimant is requesting to have their claim effective date modified and the date the claimant applied for benefits.
  • It is important to note that not all claimants who request backdating are eligible to be backdated. Paying eligible Floridians the benefits they are owed continues to be our number one priority.
  • Claimants should check their emails and CONNECT inbox regularly to ensure they have not missed correspondence from the Department or the opportunity to request benefits for prior weeks.
Florida Definitions of Ability, Availability, Discharge, and Voluntary Quit
This is found in DEO’s Resource Guide which you can see on FloridaJobs.org
This is the process when you are applying for Regular UC. Applying for PUA should be a shorter timeline, but there is still some “pending” involved when you apply for PUA, too.
Graphic of how PUA is calculated
Here is what your CONNECT dashboard should look like when the PUA Portal becomes available. Note how you must have an ineligible status FIRST before the portal becomes available. If you have a CONNECT application dated on or after April 5th that is deemed ineligible, the PUA Portal should become available to you.
This is what your dashboard looks like once you become eligible for PUA. Notice the Current Program Type changed from “Regular UC” to “Pandemic — COVID 19”
Note that there are phone apps you can download to fax documents versus having to use an actual fax machine.
Here is what your CONNECT dashboard looks like when applying for PEUC. Notice how Claim Status says “Exhausted” and Current Program Type says “Regular UC”
This is what your CONNECT dashboard looks like after you’ve applied for PEUC. Notice the Claim Status now says “Exhausted_Active,” the Monetary Status says “Eligible Redetermined” and Current Program Type is “Pandemic EUC”
First Screen Before You Answer the Renewal Questions
List of Questions to “Renew” Your PUA Clam for the New Quarter

Please read DEO’s Resource Guide which you can find on FloridaJobs.org for additional guidance!

Find DEO’s Resource Guide here under the “Reemployment Assistance” banner.

Orlandoan, daughter of working class immigrants and UCF grad elected to serve FL HD47. Working for you, fighting for us. #OnwardWithAnna