Standard jobless benefits in Florida run out after six months or 26 weeks. However, in periods of high employment, the federal government may allow the extension of benefits, which are later allowed at the state level. Extended benefits are for claimants who qualify and are only available during an extended benefits period.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is a federal extension after usual Florida reemployment assistance benefits. Florida distributes four tiers of emergency unemployment benefits provided by the federal government.

  • EUC Tier I:  Provides up to 20 additional weeks of benefits.
  • EUC Tier II:  Provides up to 14 additional weeks of benefits.
  • EUC Tier III:  Provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits.
  • EUC Tier IV:  Provides up to 6 additional weeks of benefits.

The idea of tiers of jobless benefits in Florida or anywhere else is short-term. The only unemployment benefits assured by law are state benefits lasting about 26 weeks. Responding to high unemployment, federal funds have added these tiers of additional benefits lasting through 2011 and perhaps beyond if Congress allows continued funding.

Florida is among the states with access to the highest number of benefit tiers.

EUC benefits are obtainable to claimants who worn out all entitlement to usual benefits. The last week an individual can collect EUC under any tier is the week ending December 29, 2012.

Tier 1 and Tier 2

Florida’s jobless benefits comprise the first two tiers of federal benefits after the laid-off individual runs out 26 weeks of state benefits. These first two federal tiers of unemployment benefits are obtainable in all states regardless of the unemployment rate. Tier 1 offers 20 weeks of benefits to those who go on seeking jobs and report to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. Tier 2 includes a maximum of 14 weeks who have worn out the 26 weeks of state benefits and the 20 weeks of Tier 1.

Tier 1 Eligibility Changes

  • Claimants who wear out regular Reemployment Assistance (RA) benefits on or before the week ending August 25, 2012 can set up EUC Tier 1 eligibility for an amount equal to the lesser of 80% of their regular benefits or up to 20 weeks.
  • Claimants who tire out regular RA benefits with the week ending September 1, 2012 or later are allowed to EUC Tier 1 eligibility for a sum equal to the lesser of 54% of their regular benefits or up to 14 weeks.

Tier 2 Eligibility

No changes.

Tier 3 and Tier 4

Tier 3 federal emergency jobless benefits give 13 extra weeks to states that have a three-month seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 6% or more. Florida carries on qualifying for Tier 3 benefits in 2011. Tier 4 benefits need 8.5% state seasonally adjusted unemployment over a 3 month period. Florida meets the criteria for this extra 6 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who exhaust Tier 3 benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Florida’s 3 month seasonally adjusted jobless rate at 10.8 in April 2011, the lowest since September 2009.

Tier 3 Eligibility Changes

  • Claimants who tire out EUC Tier 2 benefits on or before the week ending August 25, 2012 are allowed to a sum equal to the lesser of 50%of their standard benefits or up to 13 weeks.
  • Claimants who worn out EUC Tier 2 benefits with the week ending September 1, 2012 or later are permitted to a sum equal to the lesser of 35% of their standard benefits or up to 9 weeks.

Tier IV Eligibility

  • Individuals who used up Tier 3 after the week ending July 7, 2012 are no longer allowed to Tier 4 eligibility.
  • Individuals who have set up EUC Tier 4 entitlement may continue to collect benefits until all Tier 4 benefits are used up or December 29, 2012 whichever occurs first.

To be eligible for EUC, your final regular reemployment aid benefits payment should be for the week ending December 22, 2012 or earlier. In case you are eligible, an EUC claim will be filed automatically you will be sent a determination letter within 7 days after you claimed your last weeks of reemployment assistance.

In case you have been obtaining EUC benefits and you collected a final payment for EUC Tier 1, 2, or 3, you will receive a determination letter of monetary entitlement in the mail and will directly be enrolled in the next level of EUC. However, the last week to be paid on the EUC program is the week ending December 29, 2012 in spite of any benefits remaining on the claim.

If you did not collect a EUC determination letter within seven days after you claimed your last weeks of unemployment, contact 1-800-204-2418.

If you have tired EUC benefits, you may be entitled to collect additional Extended Benefits if the state is in an extended benefits period.

Extended Benefits (EB)

In case you have used, or are nearing the end of the up-to-79 weeks of regular Florida unemployment insurance and federal emergency unemployment compensation (EUC), you may file for extended jobless benefits to collect up to 20 weeks of extra unemployment compensation.

These benefits were 100% federally funded in 2011 but are obtainable only through Jan 4, 2012.

Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) can only pay Extended Benefits for as long as Florida remains generated “on” an EB period. The EB period is controlled by the average rate of joblessness in Florida. As of the week ending April 21, 2012, Florida’s unemployment rate has declined below the level needed to allow the payment of EB.

EB will remain obtainable for 3 weeks following April 21, 2012. Florida will pay EB through the week concluding in May 12, 2012. New EB claims will continue to be taken through the week commencing May 6, 2012. The final week that EB can be paid is May 12, 2012, in spite of any benefits remaining on the claim. No new EB claims can be received after the week ending May 12, 2012.

To find out if you are qualified you must complete the Extended Benefits Online Application.