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Tips to Collect Unemployment Benefits and Win Unemployment Appeal Hearings

I offer tips to collect unemployment benefits because as an employee, I worked to improve the odds an unemployed person would be denied unemployment whether I thought that was right, wrong, or just indifferent to how unemployment laws are intended to work.

In 2016 twenty-seven percent of the total unemployed nationwide, received unemployment benefits, while a significant portion of the seventy-three percent denied unemployment, may not of known how to work with the burden of proof at a lower level, tribunal appeal hearing.

Frequently, claimants know little to none about what's expected of them to win these quasi-legal administrative law hearings when they really did lose their job through no fault of their own. 

One thing is for certain, if I could go back in time, I enjoy helping you to retroactively create the proof I know would help you to prove, or rebut why you're not at fault.   Proof for me is usually a document, submitted as evidence.  Evidence is used to weight, or discredit, verbal testimony. If you're a claimant the testimony you should be concerned with, other than your own, is usually going to come from the direct witness for your employer.  Generally, this witness has first hand information about the cause for your separation .. and it's usually going to be your old boss.

Employees are affected by workplace cultures especially when filled with unreasonable actions of the boss they have been dealing with daily.

But this doesn't change my basic advice to document as an employee to later prove relevant truth as fact to best serve your own interests.

How does one improve the odds they will collect unemployment?  

By knowing how documenting what is happening at work actually weights testimony at unemployment appeal hearings.

So, what you do document, before you quit, or get fired, really does need to be connected to the proper burden of proof and a good sense of reasoning by knowing how unemployment works .. on a state by state basis, because as we should all know by now .. unemployment laws vary.

Of course I'm not an unemployment lawyer, but if I were .. I'd be as rare as a unicorn ... since unemployment insurance law is the administrative type and practiced mostly by non-attorneys who work for an unemployment claims management company to deny benefits for it's clients .. your employers.

Prevention is a Pound of Cure to Collect Unemployment Legitimately

"An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure."  Thank you Benjamin Franklin .. for the wisdom that suits how many appeal arguments go down at hearings.

Prevention was on my mind when I actively gave myself the ability to collect unemployment in 2006 after I was laid off, and again in 2009 when I voluntarily quit the same job.

My job was to assess the burden to be proven and then improve, or exploit the burden .. which was often a gift I found in a self disqualifying claimant's appeal letter .. that read like a short story.

Why not just write a K.I.S.S. Unemployment Appeal Letter ?  Because most claimants don't know the game they are playing is a blame game.

I learned about preventing unemployment benefit problems for myself both on the job and in places, other than my cubicle at work.  But then I expected of myself to be able to speak to employer clients intelligently about their appeals of benefits.  Imagine that .. my employer didn't train me to meet their expectations, let alone my own. 

Unemployment laws sometimes have better free resources that begin to explain how individual state's UI laws are regulated by the agency itself .. to work. 

But of course it is what lies between all the varied rules, laws and regulations, that can be an undiscovered truth about what occurred while you were still an employee and eventually led to a final incident causing you to quit your job, or get fired .. and the moving party claiming they had good cause to end the employment relationship.

Sounds like a marriage ending to me.

Basic unemployment advice attempts to lay some groundwork for what employees miss, but should be aware of if they want to meet, or rebut a burden of proof at the FIRST unemployment hearing, because proving the truth to also be a credible fact connected to law and the burden, is central to how unemployment works. 

If you think you might need professional unemployment benefits help, click to learn about my own and others, unemployment services.

Or keep scrolling until you detect your issue with benefits.


Free Advice to Collect Unemployment Benefits

Answers about unemployment benefits, frequently perplex those who ignore the burden to prove the truth a fact, about a very common unemployment eligibility issues.  Many are first surprised by an erroneous initial claim determination .. which can in fact, be easily appealed.

But .. you need merits to make an argument from .. whether you're the employee, or the employer.


For those who want to submit a new free question.

If your goal is simply to take me to task, and disagree with a tip or how I answered someone, please feel free to offer constructive feedback here.

What's New on the Unemployment Blog

  1. 1 case appealed denied (original), 2nd granted to reopen?

    Sep 09, 17 03:37 PM

    I'm in NY. First case,(1st court date) the employer did not show up. I testified, decision for ui benefits granted. That case was appealed and reopened.

    Read More

  2. Affirmed

    Sep 04, 17 02:37 PM

    My unemployment appeal decision stated i am affirmed. what does that mean? This means that whatever the initial determination said is affirmed by the

    Read More

  3. A few thing that can happen when your employer has appealed to the board of review

    Sep 04, 17 12:47 PM

    I am going through an appeal review next week. My case is in the state of NV. What can I expect if I lose my unemployment benefits? This is the second

    Read More

  4. I didn't know I could file?????

    Sep 02, 17 06:03 PM

    I quit/fired from my job in March of 2017. Have struggled to find work. Its September 2017 and haven't found a job. Someone told me I could file for

    Read More

  5. Employer is saying I quit and I didn't.

    Aug 31, 17 01:59 PM

    Employer is saying I quit and I didn't. I was fired from my last job because I requested that my schedule be changed because I was having transportation

    Read More

  6. Disaster Unemployment Benefits Available in 18 Texas Counties for Hurricane Harvey.

    Aug 30, 17 12:56 PM

    The current deadline for applying for emergency unemployment benefits as of the notice issued on August 28th was September 27, 2017.

    Read More

  7. My boss won't schedule me or fire me

    Aug 28, 17 12:26 PM

    I've only work at my job for about a month or so but my first two weeks I worked anywhere from 3 1/2 hours to 7 hours with no days off or any breaks then

    Read More

  8. I'm being caused emotional distress at work by a co-worker. If I'm fired will I be able to collect unemployment?

    Aug 27, 17 11:41 AM

    I'm being caused emotional distress at work by a co-worker. If I'm fired will I be able to collect unemployment? i've been working at my current job

    Read More

  9. Is This Proof, or Not I was Fired for a Safety Violation, But Not Misconduct?

    Aug 25, 17 02:57 PM

    Is there any justification in being terminated for a safety violation ie. not wearing proper safety equipment when it is the responsibility of the employer/

    Read More

  10. They stopped scheduling me

    Aug 15, 17 01:51 PM

    Can I file for unemployment if I stopped getting scheduled? On Friday I came into work and before I clocked in, a manager told me to go home since we

    Read More

  11. Great Site

    Aug 12, 17 09:36 AM

    I found this site a lot of help. Even talked to Chris personally. She is helping me find someone for representation. She has helped me oh so much.

    Read More

Documents Documents Documents - Why'd You Write That In Your Unemployment Appeal Letter?

Relevant documentation, when you have it, and it's relevant to you winning, adds the important weight of credibility to an unemployment story .. whether the burden is yours, or the employer's and regardless of who appealed.  

But the thing about the appeal rights, found on claim determinations, it those rights make it so darn easy for the aggrieved party to write a very short appeal letter, to get their day to explain why they disagree at an unemployment hearing.  

Yet winning unemployment hearings when you're the claimant, can be altogether different than what you might actually be prepared to do.

Some points about being prepared I hope you will consider, are those found in a short book written by a former California EDD ALJ.  It's called ..

"27 Ways to Avoid Losing an Unemployment Hearing 

You can also check out my  tips about unemployment appeals, including how not to write a self disqualifying appeal letter, orwhat you should be appealing if you're planning to offer a written argument on why you deserve to get benefits .. again  .. to the board of review.

And don't forget .. there's lots more in the Q&As about unemployment appeal hearings.

When Unemployment Claims Work.. Initially

Initially, every state unemployment department knows it is federally mandated by DOLETA's guidelines, to make timely initial claim determinations.  

The first claim determination is to establish how much unemployment will pay you.  This is called the monetary, or award letter.

The second is referred to as the non-monetary, or separation eligibility determination.  This is the determination most employers I worked with, will appeal, whether they are right, wrong, or indifferent to the merits needed to win a lower level unemployment appeal hearing, often referred to as a tribunal hearing. 

The initial adjudication phase, although conducted similarly from state to state because of wide federal guidelines, is not the end of the unemployment process, but potentially, a new beginning where the cause whether you're allowed, or denied benefits can proceed to the unemployment appeal section.

Unlike where the standard of law goes up a notch, or two for the moving party to sustain their burden to prove good cause for ending an at-will employment relationship.


Free Advice So You Can Figure Out How, When, If and Why You Can Collect Unemployment .. After an Unemployment Hearing

Free Articles    If I wrote it, it's because I learned it on a job where I had to consider the basic concepts that could give an employer the required ability to sustain an employee was at fault for the reason they were fired, and sadly, why the employee / claimant couldn't sustain their burden of proving the fault for voluntarily quitting a job .. was that of their employer .. or based on an exception to the rule found in state unemployment laws.

Supplemental FAQs - When a non-attorney discusses their understanding of the basics of proving, rebutting and identifying issues to argue fault to the the correct burden of proof before you initially apply for benefits, or  attend the FIRST unemployment appeal hearing .. it's good to also read their legal disclaimer.

If you find the information helpful let me know and I'll just be grateful for the job experience that made me think offering free tips and then unemployment services for claimants was worth it for us both .. before the unemployment process moves you beyond the jurisdiction of a state unemployment department .. and to a real appellate court .. where you will be restricted to only the services of real unemployment attorneys.

Should You Appeal to Collect Unemployment Benefits

You may be eligible to receive unemployment IF you lost your job through no fault of your own.

Allow me to offer my interpretation of what this may mean .. 

You may expect clear skies, IF you apply for unemployment after being laid off,  but if you quit your job with good cause, or get fired without it and then apply, expect your base period employer(s), to have a different and more focused version of the unemployment story about the cause.  Their story is usually intended to give the impartial State UI administrative law agency, a workable reason to rain on your eligibility parade ...

And on a personal note, the reason it frequently rains, is because employees don't know how, when, or which umbrella to open up to keep the burden of proof from raining on them, after they quit, or get terminated.

Sorry about the umbrella .. metaphorically speaking.  But at least I didn't use one about unemployment insurance benefits as being an economic safety net, we need to see the holes in  .. before we jump.

Filing an unemployment appeal is easy to do.  It's preparing to win and then executing the argument you prepared at the hearing, that presents the challenge for even those who do quit, or get fired through no fault of their own.

Unemployment Appeals and Hearings

Monetary Unemployment Eligibility

When you apply for unemployment benefits, you receive a monetary determination first and it  qualifies you for the amount of a weekly unemployment benefits.   This determination is appealable.  

But the but .. is that getting paid unemployment benefits, depends on the outcome of the second determination, referred to as the non-monetary.      

How much unemployment should pay you each week, can be important to know how to calculate, so you know when to appeal.

Monetarily Unemployment Eligibility Q&As Found Here


Non-Monetary Separation Eligibility

Fault is the operative word for most unemployment claims.  When someone doesn't know how to file for unemployment, they often reveal information themselves that make an initial denial of benefits possible, but still based only upon the available information.

The cause of separation from at-will employment in the U.S., signals which relevant details an unemployment administrative law agency works to uncover when the gatekeepers (claim department) initially adjudicate your claim to see if you can prove good cause to quit, or rebut why the employer didn't have good cause to fire you from a job.

Somewhere in relevant details about the cause, is where you uncover either an ability to collect unemployment benefits legitimately, or a roadblock that that can cause both correct and erroneous denials of benefits.  

Proving Your Truth to a Standard of Law Called a Preponderance


How to Quit a Job With Good Cause and Then Prove It

Denials of unemployment benefits frequently determine the employee who quit their job, did so for good personal cause,  but then go on to say they quit without good cause because they are unable to meet the standard of law used to establish a preponderance of proof needed that proves the voluntary quit was due to fault attributable to being that of the employer.  So ...

What Don't Employees Do That Could Allow Them Prove Good Cause to Quit and Collect Unemployment?

Q&As About Quitting a Job

When Misconduct Isn't the Reason for Being Fired From a Job

Being found guilty of misconduct and denied when fired from a job doesn't rarely leave employees with a good feeling, because it sounds a whole lot worse than saying cause for termination is similar to what is mean by fault, attributable to the employee.  But if the points made by a court's definition is the standard for what an employer is expected to prove for you to be denied unemployment benefits when you violate an employer rule, or willfully chose not to meet certain standards of behavior, or expectations, there's room to argue when an at will employer fired you without good cause, for bad cause, or for no cause at all.

Here's a Definition of Work Related Misconduct You Can Work With to Find an Argument

Q&As About Being Fired From a Job

Take Charge of Your Unemployment Benefits Destiny

Unemployed people tend to take a determination, saying they were at fault .. out of context, and frequently too much to heart, that it interferes with how they reason their way through the unemployment claiming experience.  

Here's an OBJECTIVE suggestion and I make with truly, only your best interest in mind.   Read an initial non-monetary separation determination thoroughly at least one time.   And please do take special note of a common term used to explains how the unemployment process works at the beginning of all claims.  

Based upon the available information it is determined .. 

That is not the same standard of law applied at unemployment appeal hearings .. where the standard of proof jumps up a notch .. or two to a preponderance of the credible testimony and/or evidence.

From the perspective it's a good idea to do a bit of determining yourself, before you weigh in on what facts and circumstances you need to make available to the unemployment claims department, you can begin to see what might help you if you do need to appeal, or more likely an employer appeals because you were allowed to collect unemployment.

I worked for a company that represented employers at these hearings, I wasn't a hearing rep, but I coordinated the pre-hearing efforts for those reps.  Although I know it is documentation that adds weight to what people testify to, I talked one on one with employer witnesses (just another employee with authority to act as an agency of the employing unit) and if impressions could count, impunity to do as they please with that power .. regardless of what was suggested by a pile of documents.

Whether you believe you quit your job with good cause, or were fired from your job for something other than misconduct connected to the work, remember, it is the moving party expected to know beforehand they must initially meet the burden of proof to blame the non-moving party based upon the available information after a separation from a job.

There's more to the ability to reverse, or sustain an initial determination than just documentation if the testimony suggest something else.

So ..  why unemployment tips for employees?  

It was just a hope, I could alter the mindset of unemployed people who felt desperate as employees and carried that same desperation with them when they applied for benefits.

When you know how unemployment works before you quit, or get fired, you at least have choices you can make that could eventually give you some control, to participate in actively arguing to, or against the quasi-legal merits that meet, or rebut the damn burden of the moving party.

Neither you, nor your employer determines fault.   But even an employee has the right to take reasonable actions in the at will employment relationship, intended to be supportive if an employer gives them good cause to quit a job.  Or to use that employee comment section of a write-up to counter document why misconduct is not the reason for the written warning from an employee who will terminate you and then call it work misconduct.  

Your State Unemployment Administrative Law Agency has the authority to make objective calls on benefits .. not you personally .. so if you think you need to appeal .. go for it and if your employer appeals .. attend that hearing to at least explain .. what you have learned, so they think twice .. about assuming employees are just to ignorant of how UI works .. to not know how they work it.



Get Your Unemployment PROOF In Order

I coordinated thousands of unemployment appeal hearings on behalf of employers, to say unequivocally, evidence created before a job ends, is what made that job and the  hearing rep's, easier if the employee was fired for misconduct.   And harder to do, on the rare occasion an employee surprised me with documentary evidence supporting why they had quit with good cause attributable to the employer .. while there was still an employment relationship.. and employer may not of mentioned to me.

Some evidence created after a job is ended can also serve to ward off conditional eligibility flags on claims.

Take my own story for instance.

It' True Because I Say It Is!  But is It Also a Credible Fact?

Not that there aren't a lot of he said / she said circumstances that surround the arguments of how people become separated from a job, but since credibility is the judgement call of the reasonable person conducting the hearing, I myself preferred, not leaving credibility of the facts I knew were true,  up to a hearing officer who might be inclined to procedurally victimize me .. given they do have wide discretion to decide whose story is more credible .. when there is no evidence to add weight to verbal testimony given at hearings.

Clearly, this scenario is what I hope you can avoid .. because when there is no evidence to speak of, or cross examine on, it doesn't bode well for an appeal to a board of review to be successful .. unless the hearing officer's decision .. might not match well with what is on the actual recording of a hearing.

Having a verbal story found to be the most credible, has much to do with why I recommend representation at unemployment appeal hearings.    It simply works to have an expert on how these hearings are supposed to work, on your side at a  hearing with the knowledge that can compel even less than impartial hearing officers to pay attention to how unemployment law should work for your case.


Do You Believe You Were Fired From Your Job for Something Other Than Misconduct?

If you were fired from you job and think you should be able to collect unemployment benefits, you may, or may not need to do more than hope your employer can't prove your guilt of work related misconduct depending on what you think your employer can prove.  

Just being fired, however, should make a reasonable consider what misconduct actually means in a big picture sort of way.  

So .. how do employers meet their burden to prove misconduct .. even if you know, or just think otherwise?

Documentation (evidence) in the form of written warnings, reprimands, coachings, or whatever they call the elements when gathering what's needed for a progressive discipline paper trail.  

The icing on this cake, if you ask me would be proof the employee was made aware of the rules before they violated some rule, or policy found among all the terms and conditions controlling varying at-will employment relationships, usually subject to an at-will disclaimer, found at the front employee handbooks, along with a document called a signed acknowledgement that you received the rules of engagement.

The cherry on top, that really can help sustain fault as guilt of misconduct, is the nail of final written evidence you were made aware your job was in actual jeopardy, before you were fired, up to and including termination.  

But, to throw some nuts on top .. let's consider what no counter, or employee comments on these written forms do when it's your turn to rebut why you were fired for something other than work related misconduct.

Q&As about the Burden of Getting Fired here.

What is Good Cause to Quit Your Job Voluntarily and Collect Unemployment

To discuss how to quit with good cause, means someone has to accept some facts about the precarious nature of working at will .. and that someone .. ain't me.  

You can have a potential good cause, but still not be able to PROVE it once scrutinized by an unemployment department to see how the fault was attributable to an employer,

It might help if we think of a voluntary quit from suitable work, as good cause to fire your employer, except for the fact employee don't know where to draw the line between working in the best interests of their employer and what's in their own best interest .. while still an employee to start documenting problems and potential solutions to show they made efforts to first preserve their employment.

Documentation (evidence) is how employers prove their burden and it's how employees might also prove a burden through well phrased, but purposeful written evidence of their own.

Let's face it .. it's hard to prove why you quiton an impulse .. unless you can prove you made the employer aware of what the good cause was while an employee and gave them an opportunity to correct a problem.

Now .. as long as your problem doesn't fail the hypersensitivity test ..

Here's Q&As about Quitting a Job With Good Cause 

Conditional Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

Not maintaining conditional eligibility to receive unemployment is generally speaking, an avoidable problem.

Just read the  "claimant handbook" (you should receive it after applying, and before you know if you get benefits based on cause for separation .. or not).  Conditional .. is all about the rules while you collect, or while waiting for an unemployment appeal hearing to finally be able to begin collecting.

  • You must apply for jobs in each week you claim benefits.  When wise, you will use the log (evidence) to detail your job searches each and every week you collect, even a partial unemployment benefit amount in the event your claim is flagged, or just subjected to a random job search audit.
  • You cannot refuse an offer of suitable work while collecting benefits.
  • You must report all wages (and even some other types of earnings in some states) each week you claim benefits.
  • You must be able and available to search for and accept suitable work in each and every week you claim benefits .. including when many of you will opt to use a period of unemployment to go to school .. or job training.





Question Your Argument to Receive Unemployment, Before Any Tribunal (Lower Level) Unemployment Appeal Hearing

It's important to question just about everything as to how UI works, but I know it can be vital to know how to approach the issue(s) listed on a notice of hearing because those issues are related to the burden of proof and the first unemployment appeal hearing .. is generally speaking an employer's, or your own last shot to get the argument right .. unless you also know how to protect your rights to due process .. before the hearing.

Problem is .. claimants get all wrapped up in how they feel about losing a job .. rather than anything that might be relevant to the issue, burden and their ability to collect, or keep benefits  .. like finding the facts with teeth to argue objectively to how unemployment law and procedures are supposed to be used .. to make things work out in your favor.

How Does the Unemployment Appeal Process Work .. Basically

Questions should lead to answers .. but when you begin to consider the question in relationship to what you know about the workings of unemployment insurance benefits, the cause and reason for unemployment, may sound identical .. except for how we are expected to know how to connect the finer details of our own unique job separation .. to the burden of proof.

Generally, I find these differences in what I'm told by you and make an off the top of my head assessment, of how well the moving party might prove facts that might help rebut, or meet the burden to prove fault for the reason behind a job separation. 

If you take nothing else, into consideration, know orienting your fight, or argument to the burden .. is your problem.

But with what I know about unemployment I do try to resolve the issue objectively to see if I can identify the most obvious quasi-legally based argument that will work for you, or at least illuminated a wide swathe you may of left for a state, mandated to be objectively fair and impartial to deny benefits initially, but still correct itself if an appeal is filed.

One of the main reasons I've always focused my answers on how to win an unemployment hearing .. is because I think there is nothing sadder than an avoidable overpayment of unemployment determination .. when someone loses .. a winnable unemployment hearing.

More Criteria for How a Burden of Proof is Met .. and Not

There's also a lot of  free unemployment law resources.  Problem is .. State and Federal Governments seem to enjoy playing hide and seek .. or they might of just eliminated the information I have personally bookmarked over the last two decades.  

So, if a link isn't working .. let me know, and even better, don't be shy to let me know where it might of been moved if you find it again .. or if you found a good resource that helped you understand something critical to understanding how unemployment insurance benefits work .. state by state.  

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