How Do I Collect Unemployment? has been online since 2007.  Since that year, I've coached a lot of people about how I would collect unemployment benefits.

But from my perspective that means I need to actively look for those things that give me a better than average hooks to hang an ability of not only collect, but keeping on getting benefits, even if an employer takes your initially allowed right to benefits, to an unemployment appeal hearing to deny benefits.

To say I've been determined to try to explain why a denial of unemployment can happen .. would be an understatement.

  1. I found I could stop myself from explaining  even in the free discussions on the blog about the ifs, whens, and whys of collecting unemployment benefits
  3. Now that needing unemployment benefits isn't as commonplace as it once was, I decided to focus more on the problems with benefits, that arise when you're still an employee

  4. And regardless of whether you quit a job, with potential good cause, or end up getting fired for something other than work misconduct.

Orienting Yourself to How Unemployment Insurance Benefits Actually Work

When you file a claim for unemployment benefits, you've decided to deal with something called an administrative law agency , aka your state unemployment department.

Aside from resolving the dispute over who is at fault for a job separation they also collect the unemployment taxes from employers, which are dispersede to qualified and eligible unemployed people.

Eligibility of your claim is relevant to who the moving party was because they must prove the burden of proof required to of moved to end the employment relationship.  

Needless to say, a moving party should want to prove the reason actually stacks up to be a reason deemed sufficient for the unemployment agency to find quasi-legal fault on the part of the other non-moving party.

It's not called a burden to prove for no good reason.  So, now you know why quite a few employers are given to first trying to get employees to quit their job.

But back to how to approach a burden.  You will either need to meet, or rebut it. depending on if you moved to quit first, or the employer did when you were discharged.

Believe me, even employees who really aren't at fault .. could often find better, more strategic and definately more effective ways to prove they deserve to collect unemployment than throwing themself at the state UI agency's mercy.

After all, you're fighting for your right to collect up to 26 times your weekly benefit amount  the "monetary determination" informed you qualified for to receive .. if found otherwise eligible to collect unemployment.

Do you know if you have an ability to collect unemployment benefits?

How I Learned to Collect Unemployment Benefits

I learned as an employee,but my job title was unemployment hearing coordinator.

I was aware approximately 75% of all claimants, lost an unemployment hearing, regardless of who disagreed and appealed the initial non-monetary determination of benefits.

Fact is, the less a claimant knew even then about how unemployment worked as an employee, the easier it was to stack the deck against them..


The Learning Curve For Effectively Collecting, or Denying Unemployment Benefits

Where's those official unemployment resources we're expected to use to figure things out!!

In fact I'm not an attorney, so nothing here is intended to be legal advice.

But being that employee, I became a bit obsessive about protecting my right to get unemployment .. just in case weirdness took over at work.

Like most at-will employees I am a non-attorneys, yet while employed I had the good fortune to know all UI claimants are expected to get up to speed fast, on how to work unemployment law to work to our advantage because I read many a UI hearing decision that state ignorance is not an excuse for losing the first unemployment appeal hearing.

If you ignore the fact you are not informed as to how UI works, then you will miss your own disadvantage working against you in your effort to collect unemployment .. The very lack of experience you have had with UI law, thus far.  

Of course this means what's doesn't work for you can be made to work against you, especially if a former employer decides to appeal to fight your unemployment benefits.

Although unemployment laws vary by state, most people only need acquaint themselve with how one set of unemployment statutes work.

this means luck has very little to do with anything including your chances of collecting benefits. My view of luck, when it comes to arguing for a right to collect, is it a very bad primary strategy because it's often based on faulty assumptions.

The Basics of Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Ready to jump right in .. and learn why you need to learn to be objective to use unemployment laws to a better advantage?

And the Burden to Prove Goes to ... The Moving Party

The burden to prove good cause for being the moving party to end the employment relationship .. is not a prize .. it's a burden to prove one had good cause to move .. before moving.  The burden is relevant to strategizing for a first level unemployment appeal as well.  

You need to know more about why and how the burden of proof works strategically at a hearing because if you're not proving .. you're rebutting.

Read more ...

Can You Collect Unemployment When You Quit?

Simply put, yes it is possible for a person to collect unemployment when they quit.  

But there's nothing like facing the fact you will be assigned the burden to prove good cause when you don't understand what that burden consists of.

Benjamin Franklin said it best. 

"An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.

Read More About the Basic Burden of Good Cause for Voluntary Quits 

Then it might be time to use the search bar and look for relevant Q&As about your reason for quitting a job.

Unemployment When Getting Fired From a Job

The only fortunate thing I can tell you right now about getting fired from a job, is the burden to prove good cause is assigned to an employer.  

And of course, now we can find an actual definition of what work misconduct can be to guide us and know what our employer might of taken on when they fired us.

Yet, some of you will focus your unemployment story when you tell it to the claim adjudicator, a whole lot of stuff that is completely irrelevant, to what the employer will try to prove to meet it's burden.

In fact, if Q&As about being fired and collecting unemployment are an indication, some unemployed people have been responsible for the very story that actually aids in proviing their own guilt .. or they might just miss the mark and not even attempt to rebut anything that would help their position of not being guilty. 

An Unemployment Appeal Hearing (Tribunal Level)

Possibly, the biggest risks for employees at an unemployment appeal hearing are the ones they don't see coming and ultimately, fail to prepare for effectively.

Prepare to do what?  To meet, or rebut the burden of proof before the first level unemployment appeal hearing

Also, we should discuss first how some of you are planning to write your unemployment appeal letter,  if you choose to disagree with an intial denial of unemployment benefits.

Frankly, my goal has always been to help you win an appeal hearing and if possible for you, get you to see the advantage of a professional's unemployment services.

The reason being, your chances of a succesful second level appeal to an unemployment insurance board of review are often only contingent on what you did during the first hearing to represent your own best interest.

The first level hearing is usually the last because that's when you have the right to force a fully exploration of material facts surrounding your separation from a job.  

What can happen at an unemployment hearing? 

Guess it's time for those Q&As about unemployment appeals and hearings.

About Those Free Unemployment Questions .. and Answers of Course.

Intentionally, the unemployment Q&As are not your state's basic FAQs, (although those can be very important to read when deciding what to do for yourself).  

The anwser are also, not legal advice.  But hey, you've got to disclaim responsibility when they came from my own perspective as a non-attorney, who just happened to once have a job as unemployment hearing consultant for UI third party administrators.  (This is a company that provides unemployment services .. to you know who, don't you?)

Typically, employee's as unemployment questions  like .....  

Although not an exhaustive list of the questions I used to answer regularly, when you start digging for those  answers, you'll notice it's the individual details of each job separation whether a quit, or discharge that goes back to the burden to prove good cause to a state administrative law agency .. aka your unemployment department.

Evaluating an Unemployment Story for Merits to Win an Unemployment Appeal

Hows, Whys, Whens, Buts & Ifs of Collecting Unemployment

All info on is subject to a legal  disclaimer.

When you tell your unemployment story to friends, family, or even me, you likely aren't telling the story in the same way I would tell you to explain things to the unemployment department.

Every unemployment claim goes through it's own initial adjudication phase and by then, you should be focused on telling the story for best affect on the burden.

If you quit your job, you should be focused on what will prove good cause for being the moving party.

If you were fired for misconduct you should be focused on poking holes in the burden the employer must meet to prove misconduct .. related to the work.

Example:  What does you being a top performer, have to do with a rebuttal argument to that of an employer stating the final incident was one of you, committing work related misconduct?

Point being, even top performers and a supervisor who might come under the heading of employer, can both be proven guilty of meeting the definition of misconduct.

How you you relate your story to the unemployment administrative law agency is crucial.  But the question to ask yourself is whether it's coming from an emotional defensive stance, vs. an objective offensive position.

Emotions are said to clutter the issue of anything legal and this holds true for matters of unemployment, although unemployment is considered to be quasi-legal administrative law.  Many states and the federal government allow even non-attorneys to practice this type of law as you should note when you thoroughly review the instruction that come with a hearing notice and notice the  term "other representative".

In fact, your employer may be using a company such as I, (a non-attorney) once worked for, called a cost control company. with the primary goal of denying to at least those quitting, or being fired.

Click here to learn more about me.

Tip:  An employee, just like your boss, or HR dept. has more ability to affect the final outcome of a first level unemployment appeal hearing while there is still active employment relationship in which to build documentation that actually supports the reason the job ended..

Good Cause to Quit 

Discover why it's important to first try to preserve and save your job.  Read the Q&As

Good Cause to Fire

Discover what your employer must prove for you to be guilty of misconduct. Read the Q&As

Of course there's more issues that can affect the outcome of benefits aside from good cause to quit, or discharge.  They are called conditional eligibility issues.

How Unemployment Works
When You Quit a Job

When you quit a job and file for unemployment benefits, you will have assured yourself of being assigned the burden to prove you had good cause to quit.  

You might be asking, "what's wrong with that".  Plenty .. if you're clueless as to how unemployment works when you quit your job.

Questions and answers about voluntarily quitting a job can shed light on not only the burden you must meet, but the specific reasons people quit their job .. as they connect to the possibility of even being with good cause.

Q&As - Can I collect unemployment if I quit my job?

How Unemployment Works
When You're  Fired

Better than when most people quit .. and that's because the burden of proof is now assigned to the employer and the burden is to prove work related misconduct.

Misconduct, as well as what it isn't, has been defined in a precedent decision 1947 and It's still the predominant definition upon which most state specific definitions of misconduct are still based.  

Q&As - Getting Fired and Unemployment Benefits

Fighting a Denial of Unemployment Benefits

Although there is a lot written about employers legitimately fighting unemployment benefits, very little is written about how some choose to use and abuse the unemployment process when someone is allowed to collect benefits, even when they clearly have little to no merit to stop your benefits.

On the other hand, employees who've been initially denied unemployment, often ignore their own right to write an appeal letter to an erroneous initial denial of unemployment benefits. 

Not to mention the need to prepare to win a hearing on merits .. not hopes and wishes.

Read more about Unemployment Appeals

How to Apply for Unemployment

How to claim unemployment, at least for me, is first knowing how you should apply for unemployment properly and with a legitimate argument to back your claim up from the beginning.

If you need to know where to apply for unemployment .. I'm already concerned for you .. but then you might also be the type to ask questions .. before you act and that's a really good thing.

The list of initial causes one can choose for being unemployed is shorter than I am.

  • Voluntary Quit
  • Discharge for Misconduct
  • Lack of Work (Laid Off)

The question is simple .. however the answer often gets cluttered up with your own emotional confusion about the events leading to a voluntary quit, or discharge.

Get this cause for separation question right .. otherwise you run the risk of appearing as someone who may of thought they had to willfully misrepresent it as material fact in an effort to obtain benefits.

And here's why you don't want that.

Qualifying Monetarily Doesn't Mean You've
Been Allowed to Collect Unemployment Benefits

Most unemployment claims receive two initial determination about any benefits.

  1. Your claim receives a monetary determination qualifying you for a calculated weekly benefit amount.
  2. You will then receive a non-monetary determination telling you if you're eligible to collect that amount each week.

Some of you may have mistaken the monetary determination (sometimes called the award letter)  with meaning you get benefits.   If only it were that simple, but more of you need to scrutinize the the monetary determination for errors .. which might include a denial .. because an employer didn't report, or pay taxes on your covered wages.

Q&As About Monetarily Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits 

Read the full disclaimer here: provides information with the perpetual hope it will be educational, and eye opening for those looking to find and advantage to outweigh the disadvantage of ignorance.

Because .. in the end that is often what denies unemployment benefits that might otherwise have been yours.

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