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Connect

Updated Answers from DEO

June 1, 2020
Bilirakis Blog

1- You sent out a tool for constituents to back date their claims. But then there is a message from CONNECT that says doing so may delay processing of their application. Should constituents backdate their claims or will they automatically get retroactive payments?

We encourage all Floridians that need to backdate their claim to do so. Visit ClaimDate.MyFlorida.com to access the form to modify a claim effective date. If they were unsuccessful in applying for benefits between the weeks of March 9, 2020 to April 9, 2020, they have the option to adjust the date they originally attempted to apply for benefits. If they are eligible, they will be paid all benefits due. We also suggest claimants read the important factors that could possibly impact the maximum benefit for which they would be eligible. Please read these below:

  • CARES Act Benefit: Is a per-week additional payment known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). By law, this additional federal benefit does not begin until March 29, 2020.
  • Waiting Week: Additionally, the “waiting week” will not be paid for claims that were filed prior to March 29, 2020. The “waiting week” is the standard one-week period between the filing date and the beginning of benefit payments. Governor DeSantis has waived the waiting week for weeks beginning March 29, 2020. If the date of application is prior to March 29, 2020, the waiting week still applies.
  • If claimants intend to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), they do not need to request a modification to their claim filing date. If they do request to backdate their application prior to April 5, 2020, pursuant to the requirements of the CARES Act, 20 C.F.R. 625.4, and section 443.036 F.S., they may be required to file another application before they can submit their PUA application.

Please see the following examples to assist claimants in making this decision:

  • If a claim date is adjusted, and a claimant is eligible, any weeks of benefits paid out for claim weeks beginning March 8, 2020 through March 22, 2020, will not have the additional $600 included. Based on the dates in this example, claimants will be paid two weeks without the additional $600 and 10 weeks with the additional $600. Please note that claim weeks are Sunday to Saturday.
  • If a claim effective date is March 29, 2020 or later and the claimant is eligible, they may receive 12 weeks of Reemployment Assistance benefits plus an additional $600 per week for each of the 12 weeks.

2- Has there been a change in the amounts that are being sent out? People are now reporting taxes being withheld?

State and federal Reemployment Assistance benefits are considered taxable income. Floridians that have elected to withhold 10% of their weekly benefits due to the IRS have selected "Payment Method and Tax Withholding Options" within their CONNECT account. Individuals that have not selected this option will not have taxes withheld from their payments and they will owe taxes on the total benefit amount provided.

3- Many people were receiving benefits up until last week and then this week they were not paid. Is that a widespread problem?

If so, is it being worked on? Reemployment Assistance is paid on a biweekly basis. In an effort to get Floridians paid as quickly as possible, some individuals may have received payments weekly. Over the next few weeks, individuals should notice that their benefits will begin coming biweekly.

4- Constituents say that can’t see the 600 payments in Connect. Is that because the money is sent from a different system?

Is there a way to track those payments? To ensure all Floridians receive the benefits they are owed as quickly as possible, including both state Reemployment Assistance benefits but also Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) $600
payments. Some individuals received their state and federal benefits on different days because they were processed different ways; however, over the next few weeks, individuals should begin to see their benefit payments aligned. FPUC payments are not issued via CONNECT; therefore, these payments cannot be tracked in CONNECT.

5- Is there a one week waiting week or was this waived by the Governor?

After your claim is filed and accepted, the state of Florida requires a “waiting week” during which benefits are not paid to claimant. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor DeSantis waived the requirement to wait a week to receive Reemployment Assistance benefits beginning March 29, 2020 through August 1, 2020. This waiver will expire August 1, 2020, after which individuals filing new claims will be required to wait a week before receiving benefit payments.

6- What is the situation with work searches? I read it can’t be waived but that answering no won’t delay application but many people report that it has delayed it. Can you provide clarity?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor DeSantis waived the requirements to complete work search and work registration requirements beginning March 29, 2020 through June 13, 2020. This waiver will expire June 13, 2020 and individuals will be required to begin searching for work and registering for work search requirements before receiving benefit payments. Please view the Reemployment Assistance Guide for Claiming Weeks. Individuals are prompted to still answer work search and work registration requirements, but it will not delay or prevent them from receiving benefit payments. If you can provide us with Claimant ID numbers for individuals that have experienced this, we will research their account.