October 11, 2022
Florida provides unemployment insurance relief to employees and employers impacted by Hurricane Ian
- The Florida Department of Employment Security (DEC) announced that Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to individuals and businesses whose employment or self-employment is directly impacted by Hurricane Ian.
- DUA is available for weeks of unemployment beginning 9/25/2022 and until 4/1/2023.
- Additionally, Governor DeSantis has temporarily waived the work search reporting, waiting week, and Employ Florida registration requirements for Reemployment Assistance (RA) for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian.
- DUA benefits provided for Hurricane Ian are not charged to employer state unemployment insurance (SUI) accounts, do not impact an employer's experience rating, and should not have any effect on the future SUI rate assigned to the employer.
In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, the DEC announced that Governor Ron DeSantis has triggered DUA benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning 9/25/2022 and until 4/1/2023 for individuals and business whose employment or self-employment continues to be interrupted as a direct result of the disaster. (DEC's DUA website.)
Additionally, Governor DeSantis has temporarily waived the work search reporting, waiting week, and Employ Florida registration requirements for RA for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian. By waiving these requirements, those eligible will be able to quickly apply for and receive RA and DUA benefits. And by waiving the work search requirements, businesses have a better chance of retaining employees temporarily unable to work due to current conditions.
The relief above is available only in the following counties declared disaster areas by the Federal
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
Employers are not charged for DUA benefits
FEMA provides the funding for DUA benefit payments and the costs for states to administer the program. Accordingly, DUA benefits provided for Hurricane Ian are not charged to employer SUI accounts, do not impact an employer's experience rating, and should not have any effect on the future SUI rate assigned to the employer. (US Department of Labor, DUA Fact Sheet.)
Employers should carefully review their UI claims statements and timely protest any DUA benefits that erroneously appear.
Eligibility for DUA
DUA is available to those who are ineligible to receive federal or state RA benefits and meet one of the following requirements:
- Is unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster
- Was unable to begin scheduled employment as a direct result of the major disaster
- Is unable to reach their job or self-employment location because doing so requires traveling through an area affected by the major disaster
- Has become the primary breadwinner because the head of the household died as a direct result of the major disaster
- Is unable to work because of an injury that was a direct result of the major disaster
Other DUA requirements
- All eligible individuals have 30 days from the announcement date to file a claim for DUA. If the date of separation is later than the announcement date, state law applies.
- The disaster period is the 27-week period beginning with the first week following the date the major disaster began and ending with the 27th week subsequent to the date the major disaster was declared.
- Depending on the date of the declaration, it is possible for individuals to receive more than 27 weeks of benefits.
- An individual must exhaust all entitlement to regular reemployment benefits prior to being eligible for DUA. A claimant who is disqualified from receiving regular reemployment benefits may be entitled to DUA.
- The DUA entitlement will be calculated with a base period of the most recent tax year that ended prior to the individual's unemployment that was the direct result of a disaster.
- For any week that the claimant's earnings exceed the calculated weekly benefit amount, the individual receives no payment for the week.
Filing a DUA claim
To file a DUA claim, go to http://www.floridajobs.org and select "File a Claim," visit a local CareerSource Career Center, or call + 1 800 385 3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants.
For more information about DUA in Florida go here.
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
EY Payroll News Flash