‘Ineligible’ unemployment filers can apply for federal help

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

If you filed for unemployment through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and were deemed ineligible, there may be some hope for you – but there’s a catch.

You may still qualify for federal assistance, but you’ll have to reapply for benefits if you applied through the DEO on or before April 4.

Tara Di Chiaro is among many who haven’t had any income for more than a month.

“I’m a single mom of three, sole provider for five. What am I gonna do with nothing?” she asked.

She’s also one of many who found out this week she’s “ineligible” for state unemployment benefits, with no reason given.

Were you deemed ineligible? Florida House Rep. Anna Eskamani put together this guide on What To Do If You’re Ineligible in CONNECT.

Labor and employment lawyer Ryan Barack calls the process “obscene,” saying the state “hasn’t provided the appropriate level of clarity to people as to what their next step should be.”

But the DEO on Tuesday released guidance on how people can claim federal benefits. If you applied on or before April 4, you have to reapply to request federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

If you applied on or after April 5 and were deemed ineligible, the DEO says to monitor your account for more information to come.

“It makes no logical sense to reject people, and then make them fill out the exact same information on a different form. Why not just process that form through all the available channels of money?” Barack asked.

Di Chiaro said she feels the state is giving people like her the runaround – and time is running out.

She said she doesn’t know what she’ll do if money doesn’t come in.

“There’s no answer for that. Pray.”

The state said there are many reasons someone may be deemed ineligible for state benefits, but dozens of people who spoke with WINK News said they still haven’t received any answers as to why they were denied.

For detailed information on ELIGIBILITY and HOW TO APPLY for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through the Florida CONNECT system, click here.

Local lawmakers are offering help to their constituents with questions who are having trouble getting answers from the DEO. Find your local representative here.

Rep. Spencer Roach (represents unincorporated areas of north and east Lee County)
Cell: 239-336-4588
Email: Spencer.Roach@myfloridahouse.gov

Rep. Dane Eagle (represents Cape Coral)
Email: Dane.Eagle@myfloridahouse.gov


Today, we announced that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available to all eligible Floridians. Many of the individuals that were deemed ineligible this weekend may be eligible for federal benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

We have streamlined the claims process for all applicants in a one-stop shop, on our website at www.floridajobs.org. Floridians can click file a claim, and answer a few short questions that will lead them to the application for federal or state benefits. They may also call 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759) for any questions they may have. Please review our latest press release here.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

Again, many of the individuals that were deemed ineligible this weekend may be eligible for federal benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Applicants should utilize the following criteria when applying for PUA:

Individuals who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or after April 5,2020, and were deemed ineligible for state reemployment assistance benefits will receive additional application information from the Department. They can also visit www.floridajobs.org/cares-act for more information regarding these programs. Please advise these Floridians to monitor their accounts and email for additional information from the Department.

Those who are self-employed, contract employees, gig workers, or others who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or before April 4, 2020, should apply at www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to request PUA.

Unemployed Floridians who have not yet applied for any benefit should apply at www.FloridaJobs.org and will be considered for all existing programs, including PUA.

State Reemployment Assistance Eligibility

Many of your viewers have had questions regarding state reemployment assistance eligibility, there are numerous reasons someone could be deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits, including wage base period issues, lack of wage history, multiple claims in one year, separation circumstances, incomplete applications, among others. Each person deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance receives a notification regarding their eligibility.

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

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