To Collect Unemployment  Insurance Benefits 

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In 2006,  I knew why I felt lucky when I needed to collect unemployment benefits.  Ihad the distinct advantage of working for a living, where understanding it's possible to collect unemployment benefits was ultimately as important, my ability to do my job well  .. which was assisting employers deny benefits, via the first level unemployment appeal hearing.

Back then, I'd become shockproof from the workplace stories I heard, or read about everyday in some claimant's unemployment appeal letters.  But come to find out when I was unemployed, I was still naive enough to believe all an unemployed person probably could use was just a very basic understanding of what I knew when some lost a what I saw as a winnable unemployment hearing, 

Since then, I learned I was wrong.  It's at-will employees who must learn how to turn  truth into facts before they leave port .. on the wrong unemployment boat.

Explaining the Cause that Ends Employment Relationships

For the sake of simplifying what unemployment departments everywhere are most interested in, but only if  you apply for unemployment ..  it's the final incident.  

And the available information a department initially gathers about the circumstances leading up to that final incident results in ..

  • a voluntary quit of suitable work with, or without good cause
  • a discharge for misconduct, or something other than misconduct  
  • a discharge due to a lack of work.  Being laid off is when an employer  initially admits fault.

The moment you submitted your claim for unemployment benefits, a file was created.  It contains everything the state does to resolve the issues of law with your claim, that come up while the claim adjudicator gathers from the claimant of benefits and their base period employers.

However,  claimant's often miss the mark they need to hit, when they fail to provide relevant information about a quit, or discharge with what they think about how they lost their job personally .. instead of sticking to facts they can relate to the burden of proof.

The initial non-monetary determination comes second to find an individual denied, or eligible to collect the amount of benefits determined by the monetary determination that came first.

In between these two initial claim determinations, unemployment departments in all states, conduct an investigation to initially adjudicate the individual's right to collect benefits,  by asking both the unemployed person and at least their last, or most recent employer, questions about the cause for separation and those questions should be only relevant to the burden the moving party must meet.

The Burden When You Quit

Voluntarily quitting a job  makes the employee the moving party with the responsibility to prove fault for quitting a job was connected to the work, or the employer. 

Learn more about a voluntary quit with good cause.

The Burden When Fired 

Being fired from a job makes the employer the moving party with the responsibility to prove the employee was discharged for misconduct somehow connected to the work.                        

Learn more about being fired for misconduct connected to the work.

Suitable Work When Laid Off

Being laid off is a situation when all that's needed to collect is an employer admitting you're unemployed due to a lack of work.

But what happens when the state hears you also refused continuing suitable work?

Learn more about suitable work.

Questions and Answers About Collecting Unemployment Benefits

(Please note: I am not currently accepting new questions about active unemployment claims, but I am asking for stories, and opinions about your workplace experience, since it is what happens at work that leads to the real issues employees often have trouble with before they apply for unemployment.

You will find all Q&As about Unemployment here.

Recent Blog Updates

FAQs  About Quitting

Q&As pertain to how you m argue why you quit with good cause.

Read Q&As About Good Cause to Quit a Job

FAQs About Getting Fired

Q&As pertain to  when and how to argue a discharge was not for misconduct.

Read Q&As About Rebutting Misconduct

FAQs About Suitable Work

Q&As pertain to quitting, or refusing an offer of suitable work.

Read Q&As About Criteria that Makes a Job Suitable

The Purpose of an Unemployment Appeal

Tribunal unemployment appeal hearings are in reality, the first level administrative law appeal hearings where a party is given their last chance to explain fully, why they disagree with an initial claim determination.  The first hearing is your day in court .. so to speak .. without actually going to court .. which in reality, is the intent and purpose of unemployment, or any other laws subject to administrative law rules of procedure.

A tribunal, or commission lower level hearing is both party's to the disagreement, one chance to provide important information, possibly missed, or not available at the time an initial determination was made and based upon the available information to finally help develop a FULL record of the relevant facts pertaining to a job separation.  

For all intents and purposes, the decision that result from a full fact finder proceeding called a hearing is basically, the final word on whether benefits should be allowed, or denied.

The next appeal usually goes to an unemployment insurance board of review, or may be called a request for reconsideration from the lower appeal section to show cause for why the hearing decision was not proper.  Generally speaking, this appeal has less to do with arguing about fault for the job separation as it does with reasons the hearing officer erred with your rights of due process, or applying the unemployment law to come up with an "erroneous decision".

State Unemployment Laws And Other Free Self Help Resources

I don't really enjoy reading state unemployment laws .. most  because they don't explain how a law is put into action to work on different scenarios of how people come to be unemployed. 

What I do like to find is any free state, or federal unemployment law resource that enables me to at least come closer to interpreting what state legislators intended when they wrote those Unemployment Insurance Laws.

Unemployment Laws State by State .. and free interpretive resources

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

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