What happens when you lose your job? In most states, there are protections offering you unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks, and a few states that offer you benefits for even a longer period of time. In the state of Florida, available weeks of benefits are tied to the unemployment rate and adjusted on a sliding scale. Currently, unemployment is at 5% and that means unemployment benefits run out after 12 weeks (less than half the national average)..
In fact, a recent report indicates that Florida is “the worst” provider of state unemployment benefits in the nation. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “The National Employment Law Project released a report showing that Florida provided jobless benefits to a paltry 11 percent of eligible Florid[i]ans in 2015. The state’s percentage of unemployed who qualify for and receive unemployment benefits was the lowest in the country.” This previous year’s (June 2014 to June 2015) rate of 12 percent wan not much better.
Many point to the complicated process for filing for unemployment benefits as a significant factor in unemployed job seekers being disqualified for benefits. In fact, Florida’s filing system has been described as “onerous.” The state has audited the electronic filing system and is requiring major changes in the system to make it more accessible. In addition, job seekers must provide weekly documentation showing they are actively seeking employment.
With benefits available for only 12 weeks, the newly unemployed Floridian hardly has time between jobs to find a job. In reality, this means even well-qualified workers have no meaninful protection to survive a job loss and simply “scrape by” without the ability to meet the most basic costs of living.
Without more protections against job loss in an economy where unemployment and job creation are among the top concerns, cutting programs meant to offer security (not just for a single employee but the welfare of the state) like unemployment benefits results in the breakdown of regular operations in society.
Florida leaders and lawmakers are concerned with job creation, but many of the “1 million jobs” created in the last 5 years do not provide families with a proper living wage. In addition, according to Tampa Bay Times, “The state boasts that only 65,000 people are receiving unemployment insurance, a dramatic decline from 730,000 in 2010.” But these numbers do not reflect the fact that many eligible employees are not receiving the benefits of unemployment insurance.
Loss of a job may be a scary or difficult experience when the process of collecting unemployment is made more complicated. It’s important to find an attorney who can answer all your questions about qualifying and filing for unemployment.
Has your previous employer tried to block your claim for unemployment benefits?
Seek advice from an employment law attorney to find out if you still qualify to receive unemployment benefits. If you’ve been wrongfully terminated or have questions about unemployment eligibility, contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., to find out what you can do about it.