How to Apply for Florida Unemployment Benefits

In these doubtful times, being jobless is a fact of life that many people have to bear. In Florida, like the rest of the nation, many people have to file for jobless benefits for the first time in their lives. Fortunately for the recently unemployed of Florida, the process of filing for unemployment benefits is quite easy. However, you can look ahead to wait about 4 weeks until you collect your first check, so you will want to begin the process on your first day of unemployment.

This page has been created as a resource to help you in your filing for Florida unemployment compensation benefits. After reading the following, you will know if you meet the criteria for unemployment benefits, how to apply for benefits, as well as when to expect getting unemployment benefits.

Determine if You are Eligible

In order to open an unemployment claim to obtain benefits, you must first decide if you are entitled. To collect benefits in Florida, you must have worked lately.

You must have been worked all through 4 of the 5 immediate preceding quarters to your claim. Quarters begins in the following months: January, April, July and October. You must have been compensated during 2 of those 5 quarters.

You need to have earned $3400 during those 4 quarters.

Apart from being entitled from a monetary perspective, you also have to be eligible based on disconnection from your last job. You just have:

  • Been separated at no fault of your own (you were not let go for performance issues, for example)
  • You must not have give up on your own
  • You must be obtainable and willing to work. You must be keenly searching for new employment opportunities

Before filing your claim on-line, collect the following information to help you in completing the application:

  1. Your Social Security number;
  2. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your employers during the last 18 months;
  3. The dates you worked and total earnings from each employer;
  4. Gross earnings for this week since 12:01AM Sunday;
  5. Driver’s License, State Identification, voter registration number or other type of ID that could verify your identity;
  6. The name and local number of your labor union hall,
  7. if applicable;
  8. If you are not a U.S. citizen, your Alien Registration Number and work permit expiration date;
  9. Your DD-214 form (if you were in the military within the last 2 years);
  10. Form SF-50 or Form SF-8 and check stubs or W-2 proof of earnings (if you were a federal employee)

Filing a Claim

Make a decision how you want to file your claim. Individuals may use one of several formats to apply for unemployment compensation in Florida.

  • File a claim online by visiting the agency’s website at
  • Call the agency 1-800-204-2418 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. (The number to the unemployment office is often busy or unmanned, so filing online may be the best course of action).

Filing On-Line

The Internet application is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you do not have access to the Internet at your residence, you may need to use a public computer to file your reemployment claim. You may want to try a public library, college or university library or use a computer at your local One-Stop Career Center.

To File by Internet:

The One-Stop Career Center nearest you may have computer facilities that you can use to file your claim on the Internet. The One-Stop Career Center is also your best source for job placement services in your area.

To file your claim on-line

Go to the website and locate the Job Seekers box on the left side of the page and select File an Reemployment Assistance Claim.

This site permits Floridians and former Florida workers to file claims for reemployment assistance using Internet. The process takes 30 minutes to one hour from start to finish.

The date your application is finished will decide the date your benefits will commence.

Filing on Telephone

Claiming Unemployment in Florida can also be done by phone at 1-800-204-2418 (Monday – Friday 7:30am to 7PM and Saturdays 8am – 4pm). Claiming online is recommended as the wait times to speak to a call center agent can reach an hour because of increased volume of calls Florida State is handling.

Skills Review

Complete an Initial Skills Review. In order to receive benefits, you must complete a skills assessment review comprised of 3 modules designed to determine your job skill levels. This information will be used by Regional Workforce Board to develop a plan for workforce development in your region of the state.

You must complete all 3 parts within 17 days of your claim’s effective date or else payments will be delayed or denied.

What to Wait for after you File Your Unemployment Claim?

About a week after applying, you will obtain a letter stating if you are eligible and, if so, how much you will collect weekly as your benefit. In case you do not qualify for benefits, the letter will clarify why and tell you what you must do if you wish to appeal the verdict.

Once you have qualified to collect benefits, you must claim your weekly benefits every 2 weeks. The initial letter you obtain will give you a date on which you must call or go online and answer a few questions about your continued eligibility. Failure to reclaim your benefits every two weeks will hold up the payment of benefits to you.

Moreover, in the state of Florida, the first week of unemployment is not considered eligible for unemployment benefits. As such, your first date to claim your weekly benefits will be 3 weeks after you initially claimed unemployment benefits, and then the benefits paid out will only be for 2 weeks.