Latest on unemployment issues across Florida and how to apply for PUA

Unemployment: How Do I Apply for PUA?

While in Sarasota on Tuesday, the Governor again directing the Inspector General to investigate Florida’s faulty unemployment website.

Saying there are five call centers available to floridians ... But dozens are saying they've called endlessly for weeks, to no avail.

CONNECT is the website trusted with your money and unemployment determination but many continue to say how poorly it works.

“The system has really got flawed architecture,” said Governor DeSantis on Tuesday in Sarasota.

“The state failed many people,” said District 23 Senator Joe Gruters on Monday.

“And the system has never worked and it’s certainty not working now,” said one of the attorneys leading the class action lawsuit against the DEO and Deloitte, Gautier Kitchen, last week.

“This is a system that is a system that is being incredibly overwhelmed right now,” said Labor and Unemployment attorney, Janet Wise last week.

“There’s clearly something bizarre going on in unemployment right now,” said Labor and Unemployment attorney Matt Fenton last week.

Five call centers at the DEO in place to answer your questions, yet many of you tell us you can’t get through.

Here’s the help line the DEO gave us: 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759)

Gov. DeSantis says engineers continue to work on the server to assure everyone is able to get on.

You’ve asked about the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, PUA.

PUA is a federal program that pays benefits to people not eligible for state Reemployment Assistance AND have lost their jobs as the direct result of the pandemic.

The DEO’s website also says the program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, certain non-profit employees, gig economy workers, and people working part-time... in addition to those ineligible for state benefits.

So if you haven’t filed for unemployment, PUA is not your first step. You must apply for state benefits first.

Here’s the link to a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance guide with step-by-step visuals.

If you were deemed ineligible then the DEO says a link on the left side of your screen will say “apply for PUA benefits.”

It will then ask if you’re applying because of COVID-19. Once that is out of the way...you verify all your contact and payment information.

Then you go through a series of pages with background questions until you see the submit button.

The confirmation page will give you the date and time you completed the PUA application.

The DEO tells us that through PUA... you can qualify for up to $275 + $600 in weekly benefits between March 29 and July 25.

If you were deemed ineligible and you don't see a PUA link in your account...then what?

We’ve reached out to the DEO with that question and have not heard back yet.