Section 443.151, Florida Statutes 2009
443.151 Procedure concerning claims.--
(1) POSTING OF INFORMATION.--
(a) Each employer must post and maintain in places readily accessible to individuals in her or his employ printed statements concerning benefit rights, claims for benefits, and other matters relating to the administration of this chapter as the Agency for Workforce Innovation may by rule prescribe. Each employer must supply to individuals copies of printed statements or other materials relating to claims for benefits as directed by the agency's rules. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall supply these printed statements and other materials to each employer without cost to the employer.
(b)1. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall advise each individual filing a new claim for unemployment compensation, at the time of filing the claim, that:
a. Unemployment compensation is subject to federal income tax.
b. Requirements exist pertaining to estimated tax payments.
c. The individual may elect to have federal income tax deducted and withheld from the individual's payment of unemployment compensation at the amount specified in the federal Internal Revenue Code.
d. The individual is not permitted to change a previously elected withholding status more than twice per calendar year.
2. Amounts deducted and withheld from unemployment compensation must remain in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund until transferred to the federal taxing authority as payment of income tax.
3. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall follow all procedures specified by the United States Department of Labor and the federal Internal Revenue Service pertaining to the deducting and withholding of income tax.
4. If more than one authorized request for deduction and withholding is made, amounts must be deducted and withheld in accordance with the following priorities:
a. Unemployment overpayments have first priority;
b. Child support payments have second priority; and
c. Withholding under this subsection has third priority.
(2) FILING OF CLAIM INVESTIGATIONS; NOTIFICATION OF CLAIMANTS AND EMPLOYERS.--Claims for benefits must be made in accordance with the rules adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. The Agency for Workforce Innovation must notify claimants and employers regarding monetary and nonmonetary determinations of eligibility. Investigations of issues raised in connection with a claimant which may affect a claimant's eligibility for benefits or charges to an employer's employment record shall be conducted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation as prescribed by rule.
(a) In general.--The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall promptly make an initial determination for each claim filed under subsection (2). The determination must include a statement of whether and in what amount the claimant is entitled to benefits, and, in the event of a denial, must state the reasons for the denial. A determination for the first week of a benefit year must also include a statement of whether the claimant was paid the wages required under s. 443.091(1)(f) and, if so, the first day of the benefit year, the claimant's weekly benefit amount, and the maximum total amount of benefits payable to the claimant for a benefit year. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall promptly notify the claimant, the claimant's most recent employing unit, and all employers whose employment records are liable for benefits under the determination of the initial determination. The determination is final unless within 20 days after the mailing of the notices to the parties' last known addresses, or in lieu of mailing, within 20 days after the delivery of the notices, an appeal or written request for reconsideration is filed by the claimant or other party entitled to notice.
(b) Determinations in labor dispute cases.--Whenever any claim involves a labor dispute described in s. 443.101(4), the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall promptly assign the claim to a special examiner who shall make a determination on the issues involving unemployment due to the labor dispute. The special examiner shall make the determination after an investigation, as necessary. The claimant or another party entitled to notice of the determination may appeal a determination under subsection (4).
1. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may reconsider a determination when it finds an error or when new evidence or information pertinent to the determination is discovered after a prior determination or redetermination. A redetermination may not be made more than 1 year after the last day of the benefit year unless the disqualification for making a false or fraudulent representation in s. 443.101(6) is applicable, in which case the redetermination may be made within 2 years after the false or fraudulent representation. The Agency for Workforce Innovation must promptly give notice of redetermination to the claimant and to any employers entitled to notice in the manner prescribed in this section for the notice of an initial determination. If the amount of benefits is increased by the redetermination, an appeal of the redetermination based solely on the increase may be filed as provided in subsection (4). If the amount of benefits is decreased by the redetermination, the redetermination may be appealed by the claimant when a subsequent claim for benefits is affected in amount or duration by the redetermination. If the final decision on the determination or redetermination to be reconsidered was made by an appeals referee, the commission, or a court, the Agency for Workforce Innovation may apply for a revised decision from the body or court that made the final decision.
2. If an appeal of an original determination is pending when a redetermination is issued, the appeal unless withdrawn is treated as an appeal from the redetermination.
(d) Notice of determination or redetermination.--Notice of any monetary or nonmonetary determination or redetermination under this chapter, together with the reasons for the determination or redetermination, must be promptly given to the claimant and to any employer entitled to notice in the manner provided in this subsection. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt rules prescribing the manner and procedure by which employers within the base period of a claimant become entitled to notice.
(a) Appeals referees.--The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall appoint one or more impartial salaried appeals referees in accordance with s. 443.171(3) to hear and decide appealed claims. A person may not participate on behalf of the Agency for Workforce Innovation as an appeals referee in any case in which she or he is an interested party. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may designate alternates to serve in the absence or disqualification of any appeals referee on a temporary basis. These alternates must have the same qualifications required of appeals referees. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall provide the commission and the appeals referees with proper facilities and assistance for the execution of their functions.
(b) Filing and hearing.--
1. The claimant or any other party entitled to notice of a determination may appeal an adverse determination to an appeals referee within 20 days after the date of mailing of the notice to her or his last known address or, if the notice is not mailed, within 20 days after the date of delivery of the notice.
2. Unless the appeal is untimely or withdrawn or review is initiated by the commission, the appeals referee, after mailing all parties and attorneys of record a notice of hearing at least 10 days before the date of hearing, notwithstanding the 14-day notice requirement in s. 120.569(2)(b), may only affirm, modify, or reverse the determination. An appeal may not be withdrawn without the permission of the appeals referee.
3. However, when an appeal appears to have been filed after the permissible time limit, the Office of Appeals may issue an order to show cause to the appellant, requiring the appellant to show why the appeal should not be dismissed as untimely. If the appellant does not, within 15 days after the mailing date of the order to show cause, provide written evidence of timely filing or good cause for failure to appeal timely, the appeal shall be dismissed.
4. When an appeal involves a question of whether services were performed by a claimant in employment or for an employer, the referee must give special notice of the question and of the pendency of the appeal to the employing unit and to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, both of which become parties to the proceeding.
5. The parties must be notified promptly of the referee's decision. The referee's decision is final unless further review is initiated under paragraph (c) within 20 days after the date of mailing notice of the decision to the party's last known address or, in lieu of mailing, within 20 days after the delivery of the notice.
(c) Review by commission.--The commission may, on its own motion, within the time limit in paragraph (b), initiate a review of the decision of an appeals referee. The commission may also allow the Agency for Workforce Innovation or any adversely affected party entitled to notice of the decision to appeal the decision by filing an application within the time limit in paragraph (b). An adversely affected party has the right to appeal the decision if the Agency for Workforce Innovation's determination is not affirmed by the appeals referee. The commission may affirm, modify, or reverse the findings and conclusions of the appeals referee based on evidence previously submitted in the case or based on additional evidence taken at the direction of the commission. The commission may assume jurisdiction of or transfer to another appeals referee the proceedings on any claim pending before an appeals referee. Any proceeding in which the commission assumes jurisdiction before completion must be heard by the commission in accordance with the requirement of this subsection for proceedings before an appeals referee. When the commission denies an application to hear an appeal of an appeals referee's decision, the decision of the appeals referee is the decision of the commission for purposes of this paragraph and is subject to judicial review within the same time and manner as decisions of the commission, except that the time for initiating review runs from the date of notice of the commission's order denying the application to hear an appeal.
(d) Procedure.--The manner that appealed claims are presented must comply with the commission's rules. Witnesses subpoenaed under this section are allowed fees at the rate established by s. 92.142, and fees of witnesses subpoenaed on behalf of the Agency for Workforce Innovation or any claimant are deemed part of the expense of administering this chapter.
(e) Judicial review.--Orders of the commission entered under paragraph (c) are subject to review only by notice of appeal in the district court of appeal in the appellate district in which the issues involved were decided by an appeals referee. Notwithstanding chapter 120, the commission is a party respondent to every such proceeding. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may initiate judicial review of orders in the same manner and to the same extent as any other party.
(5) PAYMENT OF BENEFITS.--
(a) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall promptly pay benefits in accordance with a determination or redetermination regardless of any appeal or pending appeal. Before payment of benefits to the claimant, however, each employer who is liable for reimbursements in lieu of contributions for payment of the benefits must be notified, at the address on file with the Agency for Workforce Innovation or its tax collection service provider, of the initial determination of the claim and must be given 10 days to respond.
(b) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall promptly pay benefits, regardless of whether a determination is under appeal, when the determination allowing benefits is affirmed in any amount by an appeals referee or is affirmed by the commission, or if a decision of an appeals referee allowing benefits is affirmed in any amount by the commission. In these instances, a court may not issue an injunction, supersedeas, stay, or other writ or process suspending payment of benefits. A contributing employer may not, however, be charged with benefits paid under an erroneous determination if the decision is ultimately reversed. Benefits are not paid for any subsequent weeks of unemployment involved in a reversal.
(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) relating to charging an employer liable for contributions do not apply to reimbursing employers.
(6) RECOVERY AND RECOUPMENT.--
(a) Any person who, by reason of her or his fraud, receives benefits under this chapter to which she or he is not entitled is liable to repay those benefits to the Agency for Workforce Innovation on behalf of the trust fund or, in the agency's discretion, to have those benefits deducted from future benefits payable to her or him under this chapter. To enforce this paragraph, the Agency for Workforce Innovation must find the existence of fraud through a redetermination or decision under this section within 2 years after the fraud was committed. Any recovery or recoupment of these benefits must be effected within 5 years after the redetermination or decision.
(b) Any person who, by reason other than her or his fraud, receives benefits under this chapter to which, under a redetermination or decision pursuant to this section, she or he is found not entitled, is liable to repay those benefits to the Agency for Workforce Innovation on behalf of the trust fund or, in the agency's discretion, to have those benefits deducted from any future benefits payable to her or him under this chapter. Any recovery or recoupment of benefits must be effected within 3 years after the redetermination or decision.
(c) Recoupment from future benefits is not permitted if the benefits are received by such person without fault on the person's part and recoupment would defeat the purpose of this chapter or would be inequitable and against good conscience.
(d) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall collect the repayment of benefits without interest by the deduction of benefits through a redetermination or by a civil action.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any person who is determined by this state, a cooperating state agency, the United States Secretary of Labor, or a court of competent jurisdiction to have received any payments under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, to which the person was not entitled shall have those payments deducted from any regular benefits, as defined in s. 443.1115(1)(e), payable to her or him under this chapter. Each deduction under this paragraph may not exceed 50 percent of the amount otherwise payable. The payments deducted shall be remitted to the agency that issued the payments under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, for return to the United States Treasury. Except for overpayments determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, a deduction may not be made under this paragraph until a determination by the state agency or the United States Secretary of Labor is final.
(7) REPRESENTATION IN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS.--In any administrative proceeding conducted under this chapter, an employer or a claimant has the right, at his or her own expense, to be represented by counsel or by an authorized representative. Notwithstanding s. 120.62(2), the authorized representative need not be a qualified representative.
(8) BILINGUAL REQUIREMENTS.--
(a) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall provide printed bilingual instructional and educational materials in the appropriate language in those counties in which 5 percent or more of the households in the county are classified as a single-language minority.
(b) The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall ensure that one-stop career centers and appeals offices located in counties subject to the requirements of paragraph (c) prominently post notices in the appropriate languages and that translators are available in those centers and offices.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term "single-language minority" means households that speak the same non-English language and that do not contain an adult fluent in English. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall develop estimates of the percentages of single-language minority households for each county by using data from the United States Bureau of the Census.
History.--s. 7, ch. 18402, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(494); s. 7, ch. 20685, 1941; s. 1, ch. 21982, 1943; s. 2, ch. 24083, 1947; s. 10, ch. 26484, 1951; s. 4, ch. 26879, 1951; s. 4, ch. 28242, 1953; ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, ch. 29769, 1955; s. 1, ch. 57-268; s. 3, ch. 61-132; ss. 17, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-87; s. 1, ch. 72-154; s. 11, ch. 78-95; s. 4, ch. 78-386; s. 23, ch. 79-7; s. 3, ch. 79-308; s. 184, ch. 79-400; ss. 5, 8, 9, ch. 80-95; s. 4, ch. 80-345; s. 4, ch. 82-91; s. 1, ch. 82-178; s. 12, ch. 83-174; s. 3, ch. 90-89; s. 7, ch. 96-378; s. 200, ch. 96-410; s. 7, ch. 96-411; s. 1065, ch. 97-103; s. 9, ch. 98-149; s. 104, ch. 2000-153; s. 106, ch. 2000-165; s. 39, ch. 2003-36; s. 7, ch. 2005-209.
Note.--Former s. 443.07.