|TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) issued its weekly Reemployment Assistance updates. Daily updates can be found on the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Claims Dashboard. |
As of March 23, DEO has paid 2,320,167 claimants more than $24.6 billion ($24,684,743,717). Nearly 5.3 million (5,292,979) unique claims have been processed, representing 99.2 percent of unique claims submitted. 97.6 percent of all eligible benefits requested prior to March 5, 2021, for state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) have been paid to claimants. Additionally, 99.9 percent of all eligible benefits requested by claimants for weeks of unemployment prior to July 25, 2020, have also received their corresponding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits for that week. If a claimant has not received benefits or all of the benefits they believe they are entitled to, they should:Check that they have requested benefits; Check that the weeks they are requesting are eligible weeks; and Check that their account information in CONNECT is up-to-date and accurate. If a claimant needs additional assistance, they should call the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY. The Department would like to remind claimants that it is important to continue requesting benefits to receive payment. This video and guide may be helpful.
CONNECT HoursDEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to process claims and payments. CONNECT’s regularly scheduled hours are from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. daily, Monday – Friday.However, CONNECT may be unavailable to claimants either Friday, March 26, or Monday, March 29, to provide additional weeks for PUA claimants made available through the American Rescue Plan of 2021. The Department will communicate plans as they become available, but the Department recommends claimants take any needed action in CONNECT, such as requesting benefit payments, prior to the system’s potential unavailability. If you miss the deadline to request your benefit payments on Friday or Monday, you will have the opportunity to request your benefit payments when the system becomes available. Beginning Saturday, March 27, through Sunday, March 28, CONNECT will be unavailable to claimants while the Department works to continue efforts to implement the Continued Assistance Act, process payments, and send necessary correspondence to claimants. If the system is unavailable on Friday, March 26, CONNECT will be available Monday, March 29, at 8:00 a.m.This schedule does not affect individuals who wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at www.FloridaJobs.organd select “File a Claim.”
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
The Department is working diligently to fully implement program extensions provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.This week, claimants receiving PEUC benefits should begin seeing additional weeks available in their CONNECT account to reflect new program extensions. Extensions for claimants receiving PUA benefits should be available soon. As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit programs have been extended to September 6, 2021. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 for eligible claimants, has also been extended to September 6, 2021. Claimants should continue to request their benefit payments as weeks become available in their CONNECT account if they remain unemployed. The Department encourages individuals to continue checking their CONNECT account every 48 hours for additional updates or notifications from the Department.
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation
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.MEUC benefits are in addition to the $300 supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (FPUC) benefit programs, which expires on September 6, 2021.Florida is one of the few states to fully implement MEUC benefits for eligible claimants.Eligible claimants can apply for MEUC benefits here. For information on how to apply for MEUC, click here.
The Department has recently provided claimants the option to verify their identity through ID.me, if they have a “locked” claim status.If the claimant has a “locked” claim status, the link to verify their identity can be found on their CONNECT homepage. For more information about ID.me, click here.
The Department recently provided an identity theft toolkit which details what Floridians should do if they are a victim of identity theft and steps they should take to mitigate fraudulent activity on their account. To view the identity theft toolkit, click here.
DEO launched a Reemployment Assistance Help Center, an online portal where claimants or employers can receive and provide additional information to the Department regarding Reemployment Assistance. Individuals can also notify the Department of suspected Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft. To access this new online portal, click here.
The Department published an independent study of the Reemployment Assistance system which provides recommendations to improve the delivery of benefits to eligible claimants and proposes a roadmap for the implementation of an integrated modular cloud-based system.
In addition, the Department has proposed creating the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Strategic Planning Office to drive continuous modernization efforts. For more information about the Roadmap and proposed Legislation click here.
DEO launched an online fraud form providing Floridians the opportunity to report instances of Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft. If someone is aware of any instance of Reemployment Assistance fraud or believes they are a victim of Reemployment Assistance identity theft, please click here and select the “Online Fraud Form” to provide the Department with additional information about fraudulent claims. In 2020, the Department partnered with ID.me, a trusted technology partner, assisting claimants who were locked out of their accounts.
The Department has recently expanded that partnership to help keep Floridians’ identities secure from fraudulent activity and bolster current fraud prevention measures. 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.
Any new state Reemployment Assistance claims filed January 1, 2021, and forward are eligible for up to 19 weeks of benefits instead of 12 weeks of benefits.
Claimant 1099-G Tax Form and Filing Federal Income Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends claimants should file their income taxes and only include income they actually received. Claimants should not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G Tax Form to file annual income taxes. The IRS also requests that claimants do not report incorrect 1099-G income on their tax return.If you are a victim of Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft, the processing of your tax return should not be delayed while your report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.For more information about 1099-G and filing your income taxes, click here. The Department completed electronically processing 1099-G Tax Forms for all claimants on January 17, 2021. All claimants should have access to their 1099-G Tax Form in their CONNECT account. Claimants who opted to receive communication from the Department through U.S. Mail should have received their 1099-G tax form no later than January 31, 2021.
When viewing your 1099-G Tax Form in CONNECT, be sure to enable pop-ups on your web browser. Pop-up blockers restrict you from viewing your 1099-G Tax Forms and other important documents from the Department.If a claimant did not receive their 1099-G tax form, they received a 1099-G Tax Form by mistake, their 1099-G Tax Form is incorrect, or they cannot access their 1099-G Tax Form, visit 1099grequest.myflorida.com.The Department has created Frequently Asked Questions to provide more information about the 1099-G Tax Form.
On a quarterly basis, pursuant to Federal guidance, DEO must determine whether individuals who are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) are instead eligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits.Claimants who are currently receiving PUA or PEUC may need to take specific actions on their claim when they log-in to CONNECT after April 1, 2021, when the new quarter comes into effect.Claimants will receive an additional notification with specific instructions regarding their claim. For more information about Quarter Change, click here. The Department encourages all individuals to log-in to CONNECT and ensure their contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
Governor Ron DeSantis has directed DEO to continue waiving the waiting week requirements, work search, and work registration requirements through April 24, 2021.
Continued Assistance Act
Due to recent federal requirements, claimants receiving PUA benefits are now required to upload employment documentation to CONNECT. Please see the Department’s fact sheet for more information and directions for uploading your proof of employment documentation.Since the beginning of January 2021, the Department has added additional weeks of benefits, as authorized by the Continued Assistance Act, for eligible claimants. This includes PUA, PEUC, and FPUC benefit payments. Claimants that remain unemployed should continue requesting benefit payments to continue receiving benefits. Claimants who will soon exhaust their state Reemployment Assistance benefits and remain unemployed should continue to request any Reemployment Assistance benefit weeks available in CONNECT. Not requesting benefit payments when weeks are available will delay payments on their claimClaimants who are on PEUC or PUA can view this step-by-step guide to learn how to request weekly benefits.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The Department is currently processing Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments which were extended and modified by the Continued Assistance Act.Beginning the week ending January 2, 2021, claimants who are eligible for at least $1 of their original unemployment benefit amount, will be eligible to receive an additional $300 FPUC payment supplementing their weekly benefit amount. No additional action is required to receive the FPUC payment, but claimants should continue to request their weekly benefits to receive any benefit payments.
Claimant CommunicationClaimants are asked to continue checking their CONNECT account for additional changes and updates. The Department will be sending important emails to claimants, including actions that may need to be taken on their CONNECT account. The Department sends emails from Do-Not-Reply email addresses, which are official notifications from the Department.
Customer Service Centers
Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Centers are available this week Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. for all account inquiries and questions. On Saturday, March 27, through Sunday, March 28, staff resources will be dedicated to processing claims and payments. The Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center will reopen Monday, March 29, at 7:30 a.m.If the CONNECT system is offline on Friday, March 26 or Monday, March 29, customer service staff will not be available to assist claimants when the system is unavailable to claimants. Claimants can now communicate online with a live Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Representative for assistance with their Reemployment Assistance claim. Claimants can visit the claimant homepage and select the chat icon to begin talking with a Representative.
The Department has shifted priorities for 200 Customer Service Representatives to assist claimants by utilizing the new online chat feature. Claimants may experience some wait time, but a representative will assist as soon as they become available.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is hiring across the state. To view a list of vacant opportunities, visit here.
The Department has developed additional guides for employers to better understand how to navigate the CONNECT system. To view these guides, click here.
Weekly Reemployment Assistance Update – March 24
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