A person who files a claim for reemployment benefits is called a "claimant." After the claimant files a claim, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) initially determines whether the claimant has sufficient work and earnings to be monetarily eligible for a claim under Florida Law and issues a Notice of Monetary Determination to the claimant and a Notice of Claim Filed to the employer. If the claimant has sufficient earnings to be monetarily entitled to a claim, DEO investigates the reason the claimant is unemployed. This investigation includes the claimant's most recent employer, and any other employers the claimant had in the last 12-18 months. An adjudicator will then normally issue a notice approving or disapproving the payment benefits.
A notice/determination is the initial ruling as to whether a claimant will be paid or denied benefits with regard to a particular issue. An initial notice/determination will be issued to address whether the claimant has sufficient work and earnings to be monetarily eligible for a claim. Notices/determinations may also be issued to address separations that impact the claim, stating whether the claimant is approved for or denied benefit payments and whether the employer's tax account will be charged. Additionally, during the course of a claim, an adjudicator may address other issues, such as whether a claimant has refused an offer of suitable work without good cause; is able and available for work; has met the work registration and work search requirements; has properly claimed weeks for reemployment assistance; is disqualified due to a separation from employment; or has been overpaid benefits which must be repaid. (These are only some of the issues that may arise.) Notices addressing any of these or other issues could lead to a denial of benefits or affect an employer's tax rate. Adverse formal notices/determinations will have appeal rights and serve as the "point of entry" into the reemployment assistance appeals process.
To appeal a notice, please click here.
Reemployment Assistance Appeals Referees
A claimant or employer who receives an adverse notice/determination has the right to protest that notice/determination and participate in a hearing before an appeals referee. Upon receiving an appeal, the Office of Appeals schedules a hearing noticing all interested parties so they may appear and address the issues. The parties will be mailed a Notice of Hearing telling them when the hearing will be held and whether they are expected to participate in-person or by telephone. Questions about hearings or hearing procedures should be directed to the Office of Appeals. The parties are expected to present all of their evidence and testimony to the appeals referee, who will then make a decision based only upon the evidence and testimony presented during the hearing. An audio recording of the hearing will be made by the referee. When the hearing is completed, the referee will issue a written decision. A party who is dissatisfied with the decision may file a request for review with the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission. To file an appeal with Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission, please click here.
To appeal an Appeals Referee Decision, please click here.
Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission
A claimant or employer who receives an adverse referee's decision has the right to protest that decision by filing an appeal with the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission. Additionally, the DEO may appeal a referee's decision to the Commission. (The procedure for appealing a referee's decision is set forth in the decision.) A party requesting review by the Commission should specify any and all allegations of error with respect to the referee's decision, and provide factual and/or legal support for these challenges. Allegations of error not specifically set forth in the request for review may be considered waived.
Upon receipt of an appeal, the Commission will docket the case and mail a Notice of Docketing to the parties involved. The Commission will obtain the hearing record from the Office of Appeals. If a timely appeal of the referee's decision has been filed, the Commission will review the hearing record to determine whether the referee's decision is properly supported by the testimony and other evidence presented at the hearing, and whether the referee properly conducted the hearing and applied the law to the case. The Commission does not typically hold a hearing in connection with a review and, absent extraordinary circumstances, cannot consider evidence that was not presented to the appeals referee at the hearing. Upon completion of its review, the Commission will issue a written order setting forth its ruling in the case and further appeal rights available to the parties. If the Commission issues an order constituting final agency action, that order can be protested only by filing an appeal with the appropriate Florida District Court of Appeal.
District Courts of Appeal
Section 443.151(4)(e), Florida Statutes, provides that an appeal of a Commission final order is subject to review by the courts only by filing a Notice of Appeal directly with the Commission or the District Courts of Appeal in the Florida appellate district in which the claimant resides, or the district court in the appellate district where the job separation occurred. The Commission is a party to any appeal involving a Commission order, meaning it has the right to defend its order. For more details, see Appealing a RAAC Order to a District Court of Appeal