Skip to main content

T&C Unemployment Insurance News And Updates – October 11, 2023

FLORIDA – Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available
FloridaCommerce announced the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits for Florida businesses and associates who were impacted by Hurricane Idalia and were not eligible for regular benefits. DUA benefits are available beginning September 3, 2023 through March 2, 2024 as long as an individual’s unemployment continues to a be a result of the natural disaster. Work search reporting, waiting week, and registration requirements have also been temporarily waived.

Businesses and residents in Manatee and Sarasota counties have until October 11, 2023 to file for DUA benefits, while those in Charlotte and Hillsborough counties have until November 6, 2023.

To file for benefits, individuals visit or call 1-800-385-3920. For additional information on DUA claims, associates can also call 1-833-352-7759.

NATIONWIDE – DOL Allocates Over $200M in Grants for Modernization of UI Systems
The US Department of Labor recently announced the allocation of over $200 million to 18 states and the Virgin Islands to assist in modernizing their unemployment systems. Those receiving grants are Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Utah, Virgin Islands, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

These modernization efforts should help prevent future disruptions and resolve common issues that many states saw magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. As each state begins the process to move forward with modernization and changes to increase usability and efficiency, Thomas & Company will keep you updated on any employer facing changes that may impact you and your teams.

OKLAHOMA – Tax Rates Issued, Wage Base Increase
Oklahoma recently issued tax rates for the 2024 calendar year. The Thomas & Company tax team is already at work verifying the received rates. While there were no significant changes in the rate table or calculations from 2023, the taxable wage base will be increasing by 5.1% in 2024, up to $27,000 from $25,700.

VERMONT –Work Search Exemption Expires
Earlier this year, the Vermont Department of Labor waived the typically required work searches for businesses and employees impacted by the catastrophic flooding. After 10 weeks, these exemptions expired. Unfortunately, some employers are seeing renovations take longer than anticipated and longer than the 10 weeks provided under the exemption, resulting in them and their employees feeling strain.

While the Department of Labor cannot provide a blanket work search waiver extension, as doing so would impact the state trust fund still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, they have indicated a willingness to provide these extensions in extenuating circumstances. If your business was impacted by the flooding and you need an extension to retain your employees, please reach out to the Vermont Department of Labor.

Washington – Overpayment Waiver Emergency Rules Extended
The Washington Employment Security Department announced further extension of emergency rules filed in March 2023 related to COVID-19 overpayments. The rules focused on blanket overpayment waivers for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation as well as waivers for conditional benefits for weeks beginning on February 2, 2020 through September 4, 2021. The emergency rules also allow claimants to reapply for a waiver if they have previously been denied.

The emergency rule was originally extended on June 27, 2023 to accommodate for the permanent rulemaking process and was further extended late last week as the process continues. While the Department indicates they have been able to process many of the waivers, the sheer volume of waivers will not allow them to finish by the original expiration. Emergency rules for the overpayment waiver are now in place through February 3, 2024, which should allow additional time for both processing and the permanent rulemaking process.

Darby Gibson

Author Darby Gibson

More posts by Darby Gibson