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Florida

The CARES Act & the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Executive Order:

Florida’s governor signed Executive Order 20-104. This order suspends the biweekly “actively seeking work” reporting requirement for those seeking unemployment benefits.

Reemployment Assistance Processed Claims:

From March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020, the state notes that 141,451 claims went through the initial monetary determination process, which means that a decision has been made on whether individuals are monetarily eligible to receive reemployment assistance.

Reemployment Assistance Claims Paid:

From March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020, the Florida Department of Economic Security issued 121,102 payments to individuals in reemployment assistance, totaling $47,544,993. This includes 33,623 individuals who applied for reemployment assistance benefits after March 15, 2020.

For the week of April 17, 2020, a total of 23,801 checks for $600 were sent to individuals through the CARES Act. These checks were sent via paper to ensure they were distributed as quickly as possible. Please be aware that any individuals who received their $600 check will receive their state benefits for reemployment assistance via direct deposit or prepaid debit card based on the preference selected in the application process.

Reemployment Assistance Initial Claims:

Statistics on initial claims filed for reemployment assistance are below.

  • For the week ending March 21, 2020, the state received 74,313 applications.
  • For the week ending March 28, 2020, the state received 228,484 applications.
  • For the week ending April 4, 2020, the state received 169,885 applications.
  • For the week ending April 11, 2020, the state received approximately 175,306 applications.

CARES Act Update:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits to those that may not be eligible for regular benefits, including individuals who are self-employed or independent contractors. The state is expected to provide additional information on PUA within the week.

System Enhancements:

The state announced that they will conduct routine maintenance to their CONNECT system to help with processing claims. Therefore, CONNECT will be unavailable from 8pm to 8am, daily. Any individuals who need to certify must log into CONNECT between 8am and 7:59pm, and log into the system during their scheduled reporting time, to have their claims processed in a timely manner. However, this maintenance will not affect anyone that needs to file a new claim. The CONNECT system will be available for new claims 24/7.

For more information about benefits, including how to apply and frequently asked questions, please visit the state’s website at https://www.floridajobs.org/covid-19.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (II)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that they will take multiple actions assist with individuals’ ability to access their reemployment assistance program. The DEO experienced a historic increase in applications for reemployment assistance as a result of COVID-19. As a result, Florida’s governor signed Executive Order 20-93, which directed the DEO and other executive agencies to take any necessary actions to improve the state’s reemployment assistance program.

Ways to Apply for Reemployment Assistance:

The DEO announced a new, mobile-friendly online application for reemployment assistance. This application can be found at https://www.floridajobs.org/raapplication.

To use the online application or to download the paper application, please visit https://www.floridajobs.org/covid-19. If an individual chooses to submit a paper application, they should mail their application to DEO and a DEO representative will call them when their application has been processed.

The below steps should be completed to submit applications to the DEO.

  1. Collect all information needed:
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or state ID number
  • Employment information for the last 18 months for each employer
  • Employer ID – FEIN number (this is found on a W2 or 1099 tax form) if available
  • Employer name (name on pay stub), address, and phone number
  • First and last day of work
  • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) covering the last 18 months
  • Reason for separation
  • Not a U.S. Citizen: Alien Registration Number or other work authorization form
  • Military employee: Copy of DD-214 Member 4; if he Member 4 is not available, then a copy of the Member 2-7 may be used
  • Federal employee: SF-8 or SF-50
  • Union member: Union name, hall number, and phone number
  1. Submit an application:

https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/_BGRCJ61RMi9WpwTGi-X9?domain=floridajobs.org

  • Paper applications can be mailed to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

P.O. Box 5350

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

CareerSource locations will assist with completing and submitting online applications. CareerSource can also provide paper applications to those without computer or internet access. Please visit CareerSource’s website for location: https://careersourceflorida.com.

FedEx will provide the option to print and mail applications at locations free of charge. Please visit FedEx’s website to find participating locations:  https://local.fedex.com/en-us/fl/.

  1. Receive application confirmation
  • A representative will contact individuals after their applications have been processed.
  • A written determination will be sent electronically and/or by mail to explain monetarily eligibility and what the weekly benefit amount will be, if applicable.

Waived Eligibility Requirements:

Moreover, Florida’s governor waived the following reemployment assistance requirements:

  • The waiting week has been waived to allow individuals to claim their first week of reemployment assistance.
  • The work search and work registration requirements have been waived so individuals are not required to register in Employ Florida or submit work searches on a biweekly basis.

 

Improved Technology:

The DEO enhanced CONNECT, their online application system for reemployment assistance. For instance, the DEO installed 72 new servers to increase CONNECT’s capacity. With these new servers, CONNECT can now handle up to 120,000 simultaneous connection. The DEO advised that they will add an additional 10 server to CONNECT within the week.

Customer Support:

As of last week, the DEO had nearly 200 associates working on the claims process. More than 500 associates will provide support to the claims process effective April 7, 2020. The DEO expects that this number will more than double by the end of next week.

Also, the Florida Department of Revenue provided an additional 579 associates to help process reemployment assistance applications. More than 2,300 state associates volunteered to be available to answer calls, reply to emails, and process applications as well.

CARES Act Reminder:

The DEO is working to integrate the CARES Act and its provisions of the CARES Act. The DEO will advise about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUA) integration as soon as information becomes available.

DEO Information:

Information about reemployment assistance benefits and other helpful information can be found here: https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/65cRCzpAoDtW7OqsXoT76?domain=floridajobs.org.

A short, helpful video about the DEO’s reemployment assistance application process can be found here: https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/65cRCzpAoDtW7OqsXoT76?domain=floridajobs.org.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that they will waive the waiting week requirement through May 8, 2020. Prior to this announcement, associates were typically required to wait a week to receive reemployment assistance benefits. Waiting weeks will be waived for any associates who filed from March 29, 2020 through May 8, 2020. Associates who file for reemployment assistance will also not be required to register in Employ Florida or submit work searches weekly. The state waived these provisions so eligible associates may receive support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Finally, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity plans to sign the agreement that will execute the federal CARES Act. The CARES Act will provide Florida with additional funding to help individuals and businesses recover from the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. The state will work to offer the CARES Act resources as soon as possible and will provide more information shortly.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any these updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.