When you begin collecting unemployment benefits, you will want to know how long you will receive payments. Although the short answer is that you will receive payments as long as you are eligible, you also have to take your state’s maximum guidelines into account. In Florida, the law sets limits on the length of time you can collect unemployment and the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) enforces these limits. The AWI sends you a determination notice with the dates you will collect unemployment calculated as soon as you are approved.
Benefits Beginning Date
Your unemployment benefits do not begin until you file a claim. If you do not make your unemployment claim for six weeks after your job separation date, your benefits will not begin until then. Florida requires claimants to serve one week of unemployment before they can receive benefits. The rule makes the seventh day after your job separation date is the earliest you can accrue benefits.
Benefits Ending Date
The number of weeks of eligibility depends on the wages you earned as an employee during your base period. Your base period consists of the first four of the past five calendar quarters before you file for unemployment benefits. The AWI calculates your eligible weeks by totaling the employee wages during the base period and dividing that total by four. This figure is the most you collect from unemployment each benefit year. The AWI divides this figure by your weekly benefit amount and that tells them how many long you can collect unemployment per year.
Even if you maintain eligibility, Florida law limits the number of weeks you can collect unemployment benefits. This law prevents anyone from relying on benefits as a primary source of income. No matter how many weeks you are eligible, you cannot receive more than 26 weeks of unemployment per benefit year in Florida unemployment compensation. When your benefit year is over, your maximum number of weeks will start over if you still meet the eligibility requirements.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation
When the country experiences high rates of unemployment, Congress can grant funds for unemployment extensions. If you live in Florida, the AWI will distribute these payments to you. However, these are not consider Florida unemployment benefits because they are in addition to the Florida maximums. In fact, you cannot collect emergency unemployment extensions until you exhaust your regular Florida benefits. Depending on the current laws and eligibility requirements, you might collect 13 to 20 additional weeks of payments.