DEO Press Releases

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Provides Reemployment Assistance Update - August 29

Aug 29, 2020


Statement from Department of Economic Opportunity
Over the last 5 months, the team at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has been dedicated to serving Floridians during this unprecedented economic and public health crisis.

In response to the significant and immediate influx of individuals seeking Florida Reemployment Assistance benefits, the Department took immediate action to increase the number of customer service representatives to address the 8,749% increase in call volume that took place following the impact of COVID-19. In April, it was not uncommon for the Department to receive more than 1 million calls in a single day, more than the total number of calls received in the entire calendar year 2019.

Through innovation, improved claimant communication, technology enhancements and strategic partnerships with state agencies and private sector partners, the Department has improved multiple aspects of the Reemployment Assistance process providing Floridians with easier access to their accounts and the opportunity to utilize self-service options. As a result of this innovation, the Department is projected to receive 2.1 million calls for the entire month of August, down from almost 13 million attempted calls in May. Today, a claimant’s average wait time to reach a Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Representative is less than 5 minutes, and wait times continue to decrease.

As the demand for customer contact has dramatically decreased, the Department continues to dedicate its resources to pursue technological and procedural enhancements in order to expedite the review of claims and process payments as quickly as possible to eligible Floridians. In concert with the significant decline in customer service contact needs, the Department is working with its partners to realign resources to meet the current demands.

It is with the help of our contracted partners and these dedicated individuals that the Department has been able to process in excess of nearly 3.6 million claims, and 27 million payments for a total of more than $14.5 billion in Reemployment Assistance benefits during these trying times. We are incredibly thankful for the commitment of these individuals to assist Floridians during this unprecedented time.

The Department remains committed to helping eligible Floridians receive their Reemployment Assistance benefits as quickly as possible and looks forward to continuing to provide additional technology enhancements and innovations to improve the process of receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits.


 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) issued reemployment assistance updates on the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Claims Dashboard. As of August 28, DEO has paid 1,930,301 claimants a total of more than $14.5 billion ($14,566,240,888). Nearly 3.6 million (3,589,024) unique claims have been processed, representing 98.5% of unique claims submitted. 

UPDATES:

  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Department is submitting Florida’s application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program.
  • This program, authorized by a memorandum from President Trump, provides additional temporary benefits for individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance for weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020.
  • Pending federal approval, this will allow Florida to offer an additional $300 per week to eligible Reemployment Assistance claimants. To be eligible for this benefit, claimants must be currently receiving at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program weekly benefits and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Pending approval of Florida’s application, payments will be retroactive to August 1, 2020. 
  • The Department is currently preparing to implement the LWA program to ensure eligible Floridians receive the additional benefits as quickly as possible. More information can be found here.

PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION:

  • The Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, offered through the federal CARES Act and administered by DEO, provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to claimants who exhausted their Reemployment Assistance benefits. Floridians will need to apply for PEUC benefits once the balance of their current claim is exhausted. Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have Reemployment Assistance claims that expired after July 1, 2019, will also be able to apply. 

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit FloridaJobs.org and select "File a Claim" to apply and be considered for PUA.
     

ADDITIONAL UPDATES:

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has been dedicated to paying eligible Floridians the reemployment assistance benefits they are owed as quickly as possible while improving the customer experience and promoting more efficient claims processing. 
  • Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Centers will reopen at 7:30 am on Monday, August 31. On Saturday, August 29 – Sunday, August 30 staff resources will be dedicated to processing claims and payments.
  • CONNECT will be available from 9:00 am – 3:59 pm on Saturday, August 29. CONNECT will be unavailable on Sunday, August 30. CONNECT will be available at 8:00 a.m. Monday, August 31.
  • This schedule does not affect individuals who wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at FloridaJobs.org and select "File a Claim."
  • Governor DeSantis has directed DEO to continue waiving the work search, work registration requirements and waiting week requirement for claimants through September 5, 2020.

HOW TO APPLY FOR REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:

DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available here. For a step by step guide on how to apply read more here. For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions, please click here. For additional information about Reemployment Assistance benefits visit www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19.

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.

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