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Finally! Here's How Realtors Can Get Unemployment Assistance

The first step is to be DENIED benefits from the state of Florida. Then Realtors, independent contractors and self-employed will be notified on how to apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) published a step-by-step guide — with screenshots of the online portal —to help independent contractors and self-employed individuals apply for federal unemployment benefits, referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Through the state unemployment system, called CONNECT, you now have the ability to apply for federal benefits.  But you must first apply for state benefits and be denied in order to access it. Here is a breakdown of the process: 

 If you applied for state benefits on or before April 4 you must:  

  1. Go to CONNECT and apply for state benefits again. 
  2. Wait for DEO to deny your state benefits.
  3. Once you get denied, check your CONNECT inbox for instructions about PUA.

 If you applied for state benefits after April 4 you must:

  1. Wait for DEO to deny your state benefits.
  2. Once you get denied, check your CONNECT inbox for instructions about PUA.

In both of the above cases, you will not get access to the PUA application until DEO has processed your state benefits application and denied your state benefits. Only then will access to the PUA application appear in the CONNECT system.

A helpful summary and FAQ of the PUA application process can be found here. Additionally, DEO will be paying benefits retroactively from when you became eligible under the CARES Act, as outlined in their COVID-19 resource guide (independent contractor question is on page 11).

The CARES Act provides two forms of unemployment benefits:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Up to $275 in weekly benefits for 39 weeks for individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, certain non-profit employees and gig economy workers, as well as individuals working part-time or who otherwise would not qualify for regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits under state or federal law.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): An additional $600 a week for unemployment beginning March 29, 2020, and ends the week ending July 25, 2020.

The links throughout this story, as well as additional information such as documentation requirements, can be found on DEO’s CARES Act website.

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