Coronavirus updates: Updated information on applying for jobless benefits in Florida
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has released the eagerly awaited instructions for gig workers, self-employed and independent contractors o apply for the unemployment benefit available from the federal government.
According to instructions released this week, workers who were laid off, furloughed or had their hours cut due to the coronavirus pandemic must file for state unemployment benefits before filing for assistance from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, PUA.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to workers who may not otherwise be eligible for benefits in Florida, including independent contractors and people who are self-employed.
Workers whose applications for state benefits were denied may still be eligible for federal benefits. To apply, workers should create or login to the CONNECT account. After answering several questions, workers will then be prompted in CONNECT to file a PUA application.
DEO has also released a fact sheet that provides PAU benefit details - including the amount and duration of benefits - for a variety of different job-loss scenarios. For some workers, the $600 weekly benefit will be paid in addition to the state’s maximum $275 weekly benefit for a total of $875 a week.
The state’s unemployment system has been overwhelmed by more than 1.7 million applications during the coronavirus pandemic. CONNECT, the DEO’s online application and payment processing system, often crashes or cannot be accessed. Callers are greeted by voice messages informing them of hours-long wait times or that the system is too overwhelmed to take calls.
For more information:
– Florida Department of Health coronavirus web page
– CDC coronavirus web page
– Florida DOH coronavirus hot line (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday) is 866-779-6121 or email COVIDemail@example.com
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.