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2024 Penalty Rate Reminder + DUA Benefits in FL and Guam

2024 RATE REMINDER – Act Now to Avoid Penalties in 2024
As you are aware, we are right around the corner from state agencies issuing your 2024 unemployment tax rate assignments. With that in mind, we wanted to send a friendly reminder to resolve any outstanding contributions and/or missing contribution reports. In many states, failure to resolve these delinquencies may result in a penalty rate assignment for the year. For example, the state of Florida will assign a delinquent employer the maximum rate of 5.40%, while the state of Pennsylvania simply adds a 3.00% penalty rate for the year.

Thomas & Company’s standard practice is to protest any penalty rate assignments to maintain your appeal rights with the state agency. However, in some cases, the deadline to resolve delinquent contributions or reports that led to a penalty rate assignment has passed by the time rate notices are issued to employers. To be safe, we recommend resolving all delinquencies as soon as possible to avoid potential penalty rate assignments.

Lastly, if you receive any unemployment tax rate notices directly at your office, please forward a copy to [email protected]. If you have any questions, please contact our office.

FLORIDA – Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available, Deadline September 25
Individuals and businesses in Florida impacted by Hurricane Idalia are now eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. Applications must be received by October 3, 2023 for businesses and residents in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Suwannee, and Taylor counties. Businesses and residents of Pinellas County have an October 5, 2023 deadline to submit a DUA claim.

DUA, which is an unemployment insurance benefit made available after a disaster, is only available to individuals who:
• Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
• Worked or were self-employed or scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area.
• Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster.
• Establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.
• Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster.
• Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household.

To file a DUA claim, visit or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, to assist claimants. For DUA claims information, call 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759) to speak to a customer service representative.

Work search reporting, waiting week, and Employ Florida registration requirements for Reemployment Assistance claims have been temporarily waived for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Idalia in FEMA disaster-declared counties. By waiving these requirements, eligible Floridians will be able to quickly apply and receive reemployment assistance and disaster unemployment assistance benefits.

GUAM – Disaster Unemployment Assistance Begins
People who are out of work because of Typhoon Mawar can begin applying for disaster unemployment assistance beginning September 5, 2023. Individuals are encouraged to apply online at or in person at Paseo Stadium. The Paseo location will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Applicants will need to have the following documents on hand, to apply:
• Government-issued picture identification such as a driver’s license, passport or alien registration card.
• Social Security Card.
• Copies of the most recent Guam income tax forms, check stubs, and other proof of earnings.
• Evidence of self-employment earnings, business license, financial documents such as 2022 Guam income tax forms, profit and loss statement, and proof of business loss due to the disaster.
• Individuals must provide proof of identity and citizenship – the program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and qualified aliens — and proof that they are legally authorized to work in Guam.

DUA is available for eligible unemployed people, self-employed individuals, farmers and fishermen engaged in business or those who were scheduled to begin work or self-employment at the time of the disaster. Eligibility will be determined on a week-to-week basis for each week claims are filed.

Disaster unemployment benefits will be retroactive to the week beginning May 28 and can be paid up to the week ending Nov. 25, if the individual remains eligible.

Michele Heckmann

Author Michele Heckmann

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