Unemployment Update: Work search requirements, unlocking accounts, tax filing and more

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

If you or a loved one collect unemployment benefits, or has employees, the Department of Economic Opportunity has several updates you need to be aware of.

Work search and work registration waiver might not be extended

You may soon have to complete work registration and begin documenting your work searches on the unemployment website CONNECT. Governor Ron Desantis has waived that requirement for about a year, but he’s not expected to extend that past the April 24th expiration date.

Here’s what you need to do, according to DEO:

“When the waiver expires, claimants must complete the work registration through Employ Florida, be actively seeking employment, and report these work searches on a weekly basis to meet the work search requirement.”

“An accurate work search record may include, but is not limited to, registering for work and reemployment services with a local CareerSource Center, completing a job application in person or online, mailing a job application or resume, making in-person visits with potential employers, interviewing with potential employers, or registering for work with employment or placement agencies to name a few.”

“Claimants are required to report these work searches in CONNECT on a bi-weekly basis when requesting benefit payments.”

Unemployment advocate Vanessa Brito explains the exemptions to this requirement:

DEO has also shared several ways to look for jobs.

“The state of Florida has more than 400,000 online job ads available for Floridians.”

“DEO is hiring across the state. To view a list of vacant opportunities, click here.”

“Floridians in search of work and new job opportunities are encouraged to turn to the CareerSource Florida network for help. Floridians can also find guidance to register with Employ Florida and search listings of available local job openings here.”

Unlocking accounts that have been re-locked

DEO said it’s working to fix a glitch that re-locks accounts that should be unlocked after claimant verify their identities through the service ID.me.
DEO said it is unlocking those accounts. If you verified your identity through ID.me, wait at least 24-48 hours for your claim to unlock.

According to DEO:

“DEO is working diligently to resolve the issue and unlock claims that have been re-locked. For existing claimants who have verified their identity, please allow 24-48 hours for your claim to be unlocked.”

“If a claimant has already verified their identity through ID.me, the claimant does not need to re-verify their claim. However, you may be prompted to login to ID.me using multifactor authentication throughout the Reemployment Assistance claims process.”

“If the claimant has a ‘locked’ claim status, the link to verify their identity can be found on their CONNECT homepage. For more information about ID.me, click here.”

Any new claimant filing for Reemployment Assistance will need to verify their identity through ID.me. For more information about ID.me visit the claimant resource page here.

“DEO also provided an identity theft toolkit which details what Floridians should do if they are a victim of identity theft and steps they should take to mitigate fraudulent activity on their account. To view the identity theft toolkit, click here.”

IRS: File taxes even if you haven’t got your corrected 1099-G yet

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends people who have collected unemployment benefits should file their income taxes and only include income they actually received. You should not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G Tax Form to file annual income taxes.

DEO said:

“For more information about 1099-G Tax Forms and filing your income taxes, click here.

“If a claimant did not receive their 1099-G tax form, they received a 1099-G Tax Form by mistake, their 1099-G Tax Form is incorrect, or they cannot access their 1099-G Tax Form, visit 1099grequest.myflorida.com.

“DEO has created Frequently Asked Questions to provide more information about the 1099-G Tax Form.”

For more help getting your 1099-G form, see our previous stories:
How to find your unemployment tax documents for filing season
Top three unemployment system issues plaguing jobless in SWFL, explained

New alert system for account changes

DEO has started a new alert system to notify you when banking info or pin numbers have been changed in CONNECT. But be on the lookout, that alert will only come from an official DEO email address.

DEO implements changes to PUA eligibility on CONNECT

DEO has recently incorporated the Department of Labor’s guidance on the expansion of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility for claimants. When you request your benefit payments, you should now be able to review the expanded eligibility provisions in your CONNECT account.

Unemployment advocate Vanessa Brito shows what that will look like for PUA claimants:

DEO said:

“Claimants should continue to request their benefit payments as weeks become available in their CONNECT account if they remain unemployed. DEO encourages individuals to continue checking their CONNECT account every 48 hours for additional updates or notifications from the Department.”

New unemployment tax rate calculations for employers

A new law, recently signed by Gov. DeSantis, changes Florida’s reemployment tax rate computation for 2021.

According to DEO:

“The Department of Revenue is currently computing the 2021 revised rate, which will be effective for all wages paid in 2021, including wages paid in the first quarter as reported on the Employer’s Quarterly Report (Form RT-6) due by April 30, 2021. After the Department of Revenue completes the new rate computation, you can see your new rate by logging in to your account online at floridarevenue.com/taxes/filepay. The Department of Revenue will also mail a revised Reemployment Tax Rate Notice (Form RT-20) to employers.

“Pursuant to Executive Order #21-80, COVID-19 Reemployment Assistance/Payment of Employer Contributions, the due date for payment of reemployment tax for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, has been extended to May 31, 2021. This extension applies only to the payment; to be considered timely, employers must complete and file the Employer’s Quarterly Report (Form RT-6) no later than April 30, 2021.

“DEO has developed additional guides for employers to better understand how to navigate the CONNECT system. To view these guides, click here.”

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.
She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

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