UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Unemployment benefits in Florida: how to certify and prove the work search requirements

To remain eligible for state unemployment assistance in Florida you will now need to fulfill a weekly job search requirement. Here's everything you need to know to keep the support.

Unemployment benefits in Florida: how to certify and prove the work search requirements
MANDEL NGAN AFP

From 29 May a major change to the unemployment benefits system in Florida could see claimants lose their state support if they fail to provide proof of a work search on a weekly basis.

At the start of the pandemic Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced the Work Search Waiver, removing the condition that unemployment benefits recipients must demonstrate that they are actively looking for work. But as the jobs market begins to recover the state is rolling back some of the pandemic-era exceptions.

Aside from the removal of the work search requirements, any new claimants will now be required to register with the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Employ Florida division, which provides free jobs services like resume proofing and financial assistance for job seekers.

Why do I need to certify the Florida work search requirement?

Florida’s DEO announced last week that the waiver will end on 29 May, which had exempted recipients from all work search and work registration requirements.

All claimants are required to complete the Work Search requirements,” the DEO said in a statement. “This includes individuals who are furloughed, disabled, pregnant, self-employed, etc.”

There are some exception to the reinstated work search requirements, but they are fairly limited. The following groups will not be asked to complete the work search process to receive the unemployment benefits:

  • Union members who are in regular contact with their union.
  • Those who are furloughed or temporarily laid off, but expect to return to the same employer within 8 weeks of your last day of work.
  • Anyone participating in a CareerSource Florida centre approved job training programme.
  • Individuals serving jury duty.

How can I fulfil the Florida work search requirement?

Providing information on your ongoing job search on a weekly basis might seem excessive, but the parameters for that work search are fairly loose. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity states that unemployment benefits recipients must engage in a good faith search for employment.

The online work search requirements help sheet states: “It is required that claimants complete five work search contacts per week or one CareerSource service appointment. Claimants who live in counties with less than 75,000 people are required to complete three work search contacts per week or one CareerSource service appointment.”

Among the examples given, they suggest the following:

  • Register for a career or job-market explorer, like EmployFlorida.com.
  • Complete a job application in person or online, with an employers who could be reasonably expected to have vacancies.
  • Attending an interview with potential employers, whether in person, online or over the phone.
  • Registering your availability to work with private employment agencies or placement services.

For more tips on how to hit the Florida job search requirement, check out this handy guide.