Unemployment Compensation for Domestic Violence Survivors

Written by Daniel Woodruff, University of Florida

Typically, under Florida statute 443.101(1)(a), a person is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits when they voluntarily leave their job. However, there are exceptions to this rule – such as relocation due to a spouse’s military service. Florida Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 563 into law on June 7, 2019 which now adds domestic violence to the list of exceptions; Florida Statute 443.101(1)(a)2.c.  went into effect on July 1, 2019.

Under the new law, a person who terminates their employment and can prove that it was a direct result of domestic violence is not disqualified from unemployment benefits. In order for this to happen, the person must: Make reasonable efforts for new employment; provide evidence of Domestic Violence; and reasonably believe that they are likely to be a victim of domestic violence at work, on the way to work, or on the way from work. The person may be exempt from attempts at employment if the efforts would be futile or would increase the person’s risk of domestic violence.

While waiting to be approved, continue to prepare for and pursue employment. This can mean seeking an injunction for protection or it can mean asking for accommodations from your employer, such as a transfer. Please be aware that while you may be entitled to these benefits, they are only temporary. The max period that you can receive unemployment compensation is between 12 and 23 weeks, and it takes roughly 3-4 months before payments begin. Also, compensation is capped at $275 per week. For more information visit the Florida Department of Economic Development.