The Florida Department of Children and Families created the MyFlorida Access (also known as the “Access Florida” portal) website to help individuals who have recently become unemployed or have had their work hours reduced by a large portion apply for and receive Florida unemployment benefits. As with many other government-related websites, the MyFlorida Access site can be confusing and difficult to understand. Furthermore, being able to determine whether you qualify for unemployment benefits can also be a challenge. We have done all of the dirty work for you and lay out what you need to know below.
Are You Eligible For Benefits?
In order to qualify for Florida unemployment benefits you must meet several different requirements. Failure to meet all of these requirements will result in your unemployment application being denied. First, you need to be either wholly unemployed or partially unemployed. Second, you cannot receive benefits if you caused yourself to become unemployed or partially unemployed. For example, if you engaged in willful behavior that resulted in your boss dismissing you from your job you will have your application denied. However, if your unemployment resulted from company downsizing, restructuring, the business closing or otherwise running out of cash or other related reasons you will meet this second requirement. Finally, you must have earned a specific amount of money during a specific time period called your “Base Period.” The Base Period is made up of the four most immediate calendar quarters when you do not take into account either the current calendar quarter you are in or the calendar quarter just before the one you are in. It is highly important that you understand and accurately calculate your Base Period to properly determine whether you will qualify for Florida unemployment benefits.
During your Base Period you must have earned at minimum of $3,400 in total gross compensation. Additionally, the compensation you earned during the Base Period must have been paid in at least two or more of the quarters and the total amount of earnings received during the Base Period must be 1.5 times higher than the Base Period calendar quarter that you had the highest income in.
How Much Will I Get In Benefits and For How Long?
If you decide you meet all of these Florida unemployment benefits requirements, you can begin working towards submitting your application through the MyFlorida Access website. If you are approved for benefits the minimum amount you will receive is $32 per week and the statutory maximum is $275 per week. The benefit amount you will received is calculated based upon the Base Period quarter with the highest earnings (which is then divided by 26). You can receive a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits through the Access Florida program. If you are still in need of unemployment payments after this initial period of time has lapsed you will then need to file for unemployment benefit extensions through the United States federal government and their federal unemployment benefits extension program (which, under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, can provide up to 99 weeks of total benefits).
How Can I Apply For Benefits?
The fastest and easiest method to apply for benefits is through the MyFlorida Access website. You can also walk into a local Department of Children and Families office to hand-submit an application or call the unemployment benefit hotline at (800) 204-2418. The hotline is available between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and between 6:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
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