Unemployment Benefits in Florida

Florida is one of the lowest-paying states in the nation in what it pays unemployed workers. The state's $275 weekly maximum benefit hasn't altered in 10 years and is resulting in the economic downturn more hurting for Florida residents as many may join the unemployment rolls each month.  Even though Florida is one of the lowest paying states, it does pay the benefits for 79 weeks, the longest in the country.

Florida's laid-off workers are facing even leaner times. As employers get anxious about the economy, they'll cut back on hiring or not fill open positions. More workers are projected to wear out their unemployment benefits, which in Florida last a maximum of six months, based on the worker's employment history.

The U.S. Constitution does not recognize any right to work for pay. However, by virtue of a numerous of federal and state laws, persons who work for pay but lose their employment through no fault of their own and are unable to right away secure other employment are usually eligible for temporary monetary help.

To begin a monetarily eligible unemployment compensation claim in Florida, a person must have worked and earned wages during the first four quarters of the previous five completed quarters prior to filing a claim.  This period of time is called the base period.   The base period changes every three months at the commencement of each new quarter starting in January, April, July and October.

To qualify monetarily, a person must: Have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters in the base period; Have total base period wages of at least 1-1/2 times the wages in the quarter having the highest earnings; Have at least $3,400 total wages in the base period. This calculation is done at the time you file your claim.

For claims filed during April, May and June, 2010, the base period is January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.  To calculate the weekly benefit amount, use the quarter in the base period with the highest earnings and divide the earnings by 26.  This number is your weekly benefit amount.  The minimum weekly benefit amount is $32 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $275.

After the monetary determination is issued, the reason for separation from the last employer needs to be reviewed with the claimant and employer to decide eligibility for benefits.  If you have not earned seventeen times of your weekly benefit amount with your last employer, the reason which led to separation from your next to the last employer may also affect the eligibility for benefits.  An individual can receive benefits if separated from the job for no fault of their own.

An individual is eligible for benefits if the discharge was because of reasons other than misconduct.  Misconduct is an intentional or controllable acts or failures to take action, which show a purposeful disregard of the employer's interest.  Inefficiency, unsatisfactory job performance, inadvertencies or ordinary carelessness in remote instances or good faith errors in judgment or prudence are not deemed to be misconduct within the meaning of the law.

If an individual voluntarily quits, a disqualification needs to be issued unless you can prove good cause for leaving.  The claimant must also be able to work, available for work all time and actively seeking employment to be eligible for benefits. All claimants must keep a record of their work search contacts while receiving unemployment compensation benefits.

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