Q&A – How Florida’s gig workers & self-employed can get unemployment


Q&A of the Day – How Florida’s gig workers & self-employed can get unemployment benefits

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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Today’s entry: I listened to your interview with Florida’s Unemployment Director. I did not hear anything about how Uber Drivers can access benefits from the CARES Act. I filed Florida Unemployment on March 28th and was recently notified that I’m ineligible for Florida benefits. Do I need to reapply for the federal benefits or will Florida automatically enroll me for those funds?

Bottom Line: Your specific situation appears to be a case of the worst possible luck and timing but there’s better news for you now. Ordinarily Florida’s unemployment process doesn’t allow for unemployment benefits for gig workers, self-employed individuals and contractors. That changed with the CARES Act. Under the CARES Act unemployment benefits have been extended to all impacted workers – including gig and those self-employed. This includes $600 per week in federal benefits through July 31st and up to $275 per week from the state of Florida for thirteen weeks. So back to the problem you ran into...timing. 

The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27th and hadn’t been rolled out to the states by the 28th when you filed your application. Another major complication in Florida’s system was the lack of a claim’s process to include gig workers and the self-employed. The information the state needed to collect for workers such as yourself, wasn’t necessarily being collected based on Florida’s traditional unemployment form. As of April 9th Florida said the application was still be crafted to include the appropriate questions. This led to many Floridians in your situation being deemed ineligible – no fault of their own.And this is all independent of the numerous issues we know existed with Florida’s original Connect system and website. What a mess right? All in 40% of all processed claims have been deemed ineligible to date. While many of those failed applications were due to errors applicants made on the forms, in addition to those who’ve attempted to defraud the system – it's evident the system simply failed hundreds of thousands of Floridians. The better news is this...

Jon Satter confirmed the following:

  • The Pega System’s site which replaced the original is stable/effective
  • Claims are being processed chronologically
  • The state was creating a portal for those gig/self-employed workers

The portal is now active and can help guide you for a successful claim. Based on current guidance you, and anyone else in a similar spot, should reapply using the new portal/process. Fingers crossed...