The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity confirmed that its unemployment system suffered a data breach that could affect individuals who applied for Florida unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic economic shutdown.
“This issue was addressed within 1 hour after we became aware of the incident,” the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity stated.
“While the incident was handled within 1 hour, in an abundance of caution, we are making available identity protection services at no charge to affected individuals, and we have also advised them to report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts.”
Although DEO has been heavily criticized for the slow processing of claims, DEO has paid 985,957 claimants a total of over $2.71 billion ($2,710,651,616) as of May 20.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed.
Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to apply and be considered for PUA.
Applicants should utilize the following criteria when applying for PUA:
Individuals who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or after April 5, 2020, and were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits will receive additional application information from the Department. They can also visit FloridaJobs.org/cares-act for more information regarding these programs.
Pursuant to the requirements of the CARES Act, 20 C.F.R. 625.4, and section 443.036, F.S., those who are self-employed, contract employees, gig workers, or others who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or before April 4, 2020, should apply at FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to request PUA.
Unemployed Floridians who have not yet applied for any benefit should apply at FloridaJobs.org and will be considered for all existing programs, including PUA.