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How to Collect Unemployment Benefits

Better safe than sorry is  an old adage that endures for good reason on lots of fronts.   For me, it absolutely applies to you when the question is  ..  how to collect unemployment benefits.     

To know what keeps you safe from a denial of unemployment .. it's important to understand the issue at work on your benefits as there's usually just one that may potentially affect your ability for unemployment eligibility.   Not understanding your the issue affecting you can cause harm to any ability you might of had to attain the standard of law that requires the moving party to meet, and the non-moving party to rebut fault for the loss of at - will employment.

Proving, or rebutting fault, for the reason you're unemployed is where most unemployed people could use some more precognitive ability to assess how .. or if they can win an unemployment appeal hearing.

Hoping I can help provide you with what you're looking for to collect unemployment, or a flaw in the reasoning behind a denial of unemployment. 

Anonymously yours,

Chris -

Unemployment Benefits Blog

  1. Is it Work Misconduct for Eating Stale Taquitos?

    Oct 27, 16 12:50 PM

    I am in Oklahoma and was fired from my job for: Dismissed for Violation of the Employee Honest Policy, and theft. They said I was observed on video

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  2. Burnt Out? Wishing You Could Quit AND Collect Benefits Without Good Cause

    Oct 25, 16 12:20 PM

    Feeling desperate and then acting on that desperation without foresight, is ultimately the cause for why so many job leavers don't end up collecting benefits. Once a person quits their job (often the…

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  3. Exercise Your Employee Rights In The Workplace Before You Quit, or Get Fired

    Oct 21, 16 12:30 PM

    Employee Rights exercised while you still have a job can be a good thing for unemployment hearings.

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  4. Failing a UA

    Oct 14, 16 03:20 PM

    I was given a UA because they were suspicious of drug use at work. I told them I would fail it, but that I had quit using the drug and asked them to

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  5. Why Employees and Employers Lose Winnable Unemployment Appeal Hearings

    Oct 11, 16 12:18 PM

    Every state has a bevy of similar precedent unemployment decision and this one is centered on a responsibility of searching for and developing an argument

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Does Unemployment Appeal Representation Make a Difference for Those Who Need to Collect Unemployment.. Fairly and Impartially?

Emphatically, yes I do.  But then again I'm asking the question I already know the answer for .. when it comes to professional hearing representation making the difference for employers.

I once worked with many professional hearing reps who only work in the field to assist employers, and the best do help improve the odds of an employer winning an appeal that could go either way .. depending on the argument .. and/or the quality of the argument prepared by and for the lone employee/claimant.cases.

Hearing reps .. as opposed to someone like me who prepped and coordinated hearings .. prior to the hearing, make much better use of something first-time claimants rarely know they can use before, during, and even after a tribunal unemployment hearing.

It's your rights to due process which are the same as those afforded to the business/employer. 

Oh how I wish thinking on my feet while stressed about the outcome of a hearing were my skill, but then again, what happens to some very smart people also happened to me under those quasi-legal conditions of a hearing 

To see your best argument for benefits isn't as difficult as you might think it is now.  But, it's making the argument well enough that it rises to the occasion to be compelling, and persuasive on the outcome of a hearing decision that gives those able to afford to be represented .. a significant edge.

When I say you argue at hearings, I mean to the merits that connect your case to UI law, precedents, regulations and those often overlooked rules of procedure for administrative law hearings .. vs  understanding all the elements but still having a personal propensity to become speechless, brain dead, or babble like an idiot when under stress .. which is in fact, why I've never tried my hand at representing any party to an appeal .. other than myself.

Click for a Referral to a Professional Unemployment Rep .. I know .. knows their UI stuff.

The Burden of Proof You Don't Want to Ignore

A burden of proof is initially assigned to the moving party.   Therefore, the responsibility that goes with this assignment is to show the fault as being attributable to the non-moving party.  So ....

Have I mention lately that the Unemployment Insurance process is that of the state administrative law agency in control of finding fault on each claim filed?

Although most of us call it the unemployment office .. or department,  when you apply for unemployment benefits the initial claim process can feel like the end because it can turn into a drawn out while you wait penniless, and increasingly desperate, for not one, but two initial claim determinations.  

The second of which, should be your primary concern since it's called the non-monetary, aka the separation determination that decides fault and whether you begin collecting a weekly benefits, or have to appeal to get a hearing to fully explore the facts surrounding a voluntary quit, or discharge for misconduct, or any conditional eligibility issue that might of come up .. like being able and available to work.

Additionally, something many miss is if the employer is the aggrieved party to this determination .. they can appeal too for a hearing and you should attend a hearing because not attending can stop your benefits faster than you can say "dropdown box".

The standard of law used to make this second initial claim determination is .. findings based upon the available information.

Seriously folks, available information at this point in the unemployment process, is frequently, not sufficient enough to secure a quasi-legal right to collect unemployment if you quit your job with good cause, or a denial of unemployment if you were discharged for the misconduct .. 

It's really rather easy to file an unemployment appeal to either initial claim determination.  But  a simple letter of appeal that signals your disagreement will generally suffice and lead to a lower authority unemployment hearing being docketed, or scheduled by the appeal section of the administrative law agency .. which is where your claim is transferred to, when an appeal letter is received .. and usually, officially acknowledged when both parties receive a copy of the appeal letter.

Believe me, it can be a rather large and irreversible mistake to underestimate the importance of preparing a valid verbal argument to present at this first, or tribunal unemployment hearing .. held by phone in a majority of the states. 

If you have questions about your unemployment at this point ..  I'm can't say I'm surprised, but the fact is .. that's because I've already answered a lot of questions about a handful of issues that affect millions of unemployment claims.

Questions, Answers, Discussions .. About Collecting Unemployment?

In 2008, I added the Unemployment Benefits Blog to this website just for the purpose of accepting questions about how to collect unemployment .. and giving a free answer.

My apologies that the number grew to include more than 4,000.   However, at some point long before there were that many Q&As I believe I had made clear why many denials of unemployment benefits would in fact benefit .. from a more preemptive approach to the burden of proof, whether an employee voluntarily quits, or get fired, or laid off and subjected to a denial caused by conditional eligibility requirement ..  

Here's where to find all the Q&A categories .. but I warn you the category page is loaded with over a 1,000 at the bottom .. making it load on your device ..  about as fast as the turtle I was trying to be.  (affiliate link).

Many answers came with additional  warnings and links in support of an idea for an argument that might help avoid any horrific consequences of issues having to do with an overpayment determination after losing a hearing. .. or for those I feared might be thinking it would help their claim to knowingly misrepresent material facts .. in an effort to obtain benefits .. such as choosing laid off instead of voluntary quit, or discharge for the reason for opening the claim in the first place.

Unemployment Tip of the Day, Week, Month, or Year

A common mistake of unemployed people, you can choose to avoid now, is allowing what you feel about how you lost your job, to not interfere with with finding a valid argument and objectively over preparing to win the first unemployment hearing.

When people use their own subjective feelings about why they know they quit, or got fired, they have a sort of blindness to how they might use unemployment law as it was intended to work for them,  instead of against them, when they fail to argue to the laws that control the idea of fault.   

Don't fight against the burden .. scour  it and use what you find in to see any advantage you might have that works to the goal of sustaining  or rebutting, your own lack of fault .. for the actual cause of the separation.  And remember the final incident is usually where you find the cause explored by the unemployment department .. 

Unemployment When You Quit a Job?

While employed, there are steps you should definitely take before you quit your job.

Steps taken should also produce documentation because that's what you need.. proof that will improve your ability to sustain the burden of proof you had  good cause  to quit your job.

Of course, you need a reason to quit with potential for proving the employer gave you good cause.  It's required by the burden of proof that you quit without fault, or at least you need a special provision in unemployment law to make an exception for personal reasons to quit.

Suffice it to say the few tips I have are about creating the proof to be able to sustain the burden of proof relevant to how unemployment law works, which is generally, to look backwards on the final incident and your efforts to preserve your job .. for which testimony alone is often not enough to prove you did have good cause.

On the other hand, if you were forced to quit in lieu of termination, you still will want to be able to prove  you were really fired .. don't you?

Discussions about good cause to quit for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment When You Get Fired?

Before being fired,  there can be any number of signals from an employer, you may have to rebut the cause for discharge.  So, why wouldn't you think about how to rebut the reason doesn't rise to  the burden of work related misconduct.

Often as important to an employee as an employer is the handbook full of rules, policies and employer expectations of employees.  The difference, from proving good cause to quit is when fired, your argument should rebut and focus specifically on why an employer cannot sustain it's burden of proof and ultimately, fired you for some reason other than willful work related misconduct.   

If an employee handbook contains the rules, policies and expectations and employer has the right to expect of at-will employees, it may contain the same useful information about what you could reasonably expect from an employer to use when rebutting why an employer opted instead to use the at-will employment disclaimer at the front of most employee handbooks and discharge you for something other than what they can prove to be quasi-legally, your guilt of work related misconduct.

Discussions about unemployment when getting fired.               

Recapping How it Works and the Need to Know How to Win  Unemployment Appeal Hearings

A state unemployment insurance agency's  process for claims, can be long, but the process itself is simple and can generally, be broken down into three distinct processes.

  1. It begins with the initial claim process. The claim department is charged with adjudicating claims and making it's findings based upon the available information they are able to acquire at that time.
  2. An unemployment appeal letter to a claim determination is what notifies the department you wish disagree.  Your claim and appeal will be transferred to the lower level appeal section.  A hearing will be scheduled, so facts and/or additional evidence can be added to fully explore information not available, or misunderstood, during the initial adjudication phase.
  3. An appeal that disagrees with a tribunal's unemployment hearing decision is moved to an unemployment insurance board of review.  Most states will only accept written arguments in support of this  last level of appeals still within the jurisdiction of the UI agency.

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