Unemployment compensation benefits are considered under the law as “benefits” of employment — not necessarily entitlements that you are guaranteed to receive after you are terminated or leave your employment. Do not think that unemployment benefits will be just given to you by your former employer. Under Florida’s unemployment compensation laws, certain conditions must be met in order for you to receive unemployment compensation benefits.

Most employers will challenge an employee’s receipt of unemployment compensation benefits. Employers may challenge your receipt of unemployment compensation benefits, even after you have started receiving unemployment compensation checks. Remember that while your appeal for unemployment compensation benefits is pending, you must continue an active job search and make all necessary work search reports to Florida’s AWI. Remember that after you receive an unfavorable decision from the AWI, you only have twenty (20) days to appeal the decision of the AWI and request an unemployment compensation appeals hearing.

Your appeal for unemployment compensation benefits must be in writing and may be delivered in person, by mail or by fax to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, Office of Appeals, MSC 347, 107 E. Madison Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-4143.

If you have been accused of workplace “misconduct” by your employer or if you voluntarily quit your employment, even with “good cause” (constructive discharge), the employer may attempt to prevent you from receiving unemployment compensation benefits. If you are denied benefits, you may file an appeal. In most cases, your unemployment appeals hearing will be the last chance that you will have to present evidence and testimony before the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovations (AWI).

Having an attorney represent you at your appeals hearing is particularly important if the employer is represented by an attorney in the hearing. The appeals hearing will provide you with the opportunity to present witnesses, testimony and documents to prove why you are entitled to receive unemployment compensation benefits. We will identify and obtain subpoenas to have your witnesses participate in your appeals hearing. We will develop legal strategies for your appeals hearing, and aggressively represent you so that you can receive the unemployment compensation benefits that you deserve.

For answers to common questions about unemployment compensation in Florida, and for information on how to file for unemployment compensation benefits online, go to http://www.floridajobs.org/unemployment.