Think you might be laid off? Key dates Floridians should know

Is your employer going through layoffs? Here are key dates you should be aware of if you live in Florida and lose your job:

July: Individuals who lose their job this month or later should know they may not have federally extended unemployment benefits available after their state benefits expire. Workers who were laid off since 2008 have benefited from Congress reauthorizing and the president signing federal extensions to benefits.

August 1: Floridians who lose their job on August 1 or after but have severance pay from their former employer will not be able to “double dip” as previous state residents have been able to do when they lost their jobs. Florida’s new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott mandates that weekly unemployment benefits be reduced by severance pay.

Fortunately, those laid-off workers will still be eligible for the same claim amount and can receive benefits if they deplete severance, if severance is less than the weekly benefit ($275 maximum), and they still haven’t found a job.

January 1, 2012: Florida’s maximum unemployment benefits falls from 26 weeks to a range of 12 to 23 weeks. As Florida’s unemployment rate declines, there were be as few as 12 weeks available when the jobless rate is 5 percent or lower.

That’s not likely to happen for awhile, so those facing job loss should plan on a potential 23 to 26 weeks in state benefits, depending whether they’re laid off this year or in 2012.

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