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When Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits ?

In 2006 after I'd been laid off from my job, I found myself to be, just a little motivated to share what I understood about being denied unemployment.  Only I chose to share from an alternate perspective of .. why one person may be able to collect unemployment, when another can't .. for basically the same reason for quitting, or being fired.

It's been ten years now.  Through it all, at work and here on this website, I answered questions and found solutions that did help win unemployment benefits from before applying for benefits all the way up to, but not beyond an appeal to the unemployment insurance board of review..

But only here on did not winning, make me feel like Red in The Shawshank Redemption.  If you're not familiar, at his last parole hearing, he wished to go back and talk to the boy he was, so the old man could of enjoyed a different outcome over the one damaging choice he impossible to take back.

But hey .. I'm not talking about anything quite as weighty as going to prison, unless of course the issue is that you misrepresented material facts in an effort to obtain benefits.  

Although I believe avoiding an overpayment is easy when you're informed about the process, there are still those inadvertent quasi-legal mistakes that cause harm to claims, but also allow you some amount of room to correct course, vs. being deadset on pursuing where ignorance leads many unemployment insurance benefits, to a place where arguing over where fault really was, really becomes a futile waste of energy for either side of the argument. 

Need professional assistance?  You might begin with a free case evaluation .. or you might just read on and find those free unemployment tips .. that really do have some advice to offer to claimants.

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Whether you want to get up to speed, or learn if/how you can correct course,  you want to know if it's possible to literally improve your chances of collect unemployment .. or maybe even deny benefits.   You could be looking for answer as early as while you're still an employee.  Or it might be as late in the UI process that kicks off with a lower level tribunal unemployment appeal.  Or you might be stretching even my realm of imagination, to think an appeal to an unemployment insurance board of review some sort of last chance appeal to correct mistakes made at the tribunal hearing.  No matter what you reason, I'm glad you found Unemployment Tips.

  • The process of unemployment insurance, is in reality, administrative law 
  • It's a quasi-legal type of law, meaning that it is somewhat like real law.
  • The process at the state level, revolves around and within the confines of state unemployment laws. (Yes, they do vary and sometimes widely enough, that I know it should matter to you, to first check the free unemployment law resource page.) 
  • And last, but not least .. laws themselves don't make the messes that humans can and do make when they opt to feel their way through any new things to know when a claim escalates the the process vs. trying to think more like a lawyer.   In other words, don't fudge on the truth ever, but look for ways you might sculpt the truth to fit relevantly with your position to the burden of proof .. assigned to the moving party.   

Well, there you have it, one biased non-attorney's explanation, of some core problems for not just unemployed people, but their former employers.

A tip in a question?  Imagine that.   Can you venture the correct guess who practices unemployment law everyday in this country more often than real unemployment lawyers?

Common Unemployment Eligibility Issues

Common issues .. as in, an issue of law.

  • Quitting a Job - You need a good reason to quit that is capable of rising to meet the burden of proof and what that requires from an unemployed person is to prove they did so, with good cause .. frequently missing from even the record of a lower level tribunal unemployment hearing on their own appeal.  What goes missing is evidence .. documents.  Same sort of thing that also serves the purpose of meeting the burden of
  • Being Fired From a Job - When you're fired it's not the employer that requires proof of their good cause for the reason they chose to be the moving party that terminated the at-will employment relationship, only now you're not attempting to sustain, but rebut, an actual defined burden of misconduct.

A burden is at the heart of any question asked by an unemployment department, so why fight what you can't avoid and instead see if there is a way to work the burden through using the system the way it was intended to be worked by both you and employers.

Questions conditional eligibility to collect, or continue collecting unemployment benefits.

  • Refusing or Accepting and then Quitting Suitable Work is a frequent problem.
  • Your Ability and Availability to accept a job during any week you certify your eligibility to collect is also common
  • Meeting a State's Minimum Job Search Requirements each week is for some states always a listed issue on a hearing notice, but it's important to remember because there is always potential you will be selected for a random job search audit, after you are allowed to collect, even if you were laid off from a job for a legitimate lack of work claim.

And last, but not least, or to include more frequently asked quitting, or getting questions.

  • Monetary Qualifying (how much should unemployment pay you?)
  • And when can you apply for and possibly Collect Partial Unemployment Benefits?

Unemployment Tip For the Day

The biggest unemployment mistake one can choose to avoid, is allowing what you feel about how you lost your job now, to interfere with objective preparations and presentation of facts that can be deemed as relevant to how unemployment is supposed to work for you.

State unemployment departments are administrative law agencies.  All states UI programs have been mandated to exist and their purpose is to administer a state's unemployment laws while treating all claim for benefits, fairly, impartially, or relatively speaking .. objectively.  

When people do not get past their own subjective feelings about why they quit, or got fired, in lieu of learning how they can make laws work out in their favor, they are also making one of the most basic mistakes made by claimants .. and some employers.

I sincerely believe to this day, many more claimants, would benefit from professional hearing representation, because professionals UI appeal reps, avoid the subjective, in lieu of choosing to evaluate circumstance of losing a job .. objectively.

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 as not rising to a 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.               

Winning Unemployment Appeal Hearings

A state unemployment insurance agency's  process for claims, can be a long one, but the process can be generally broken down to three distinct processes.

  1. It begins with the initial claim process to adjudicate based upon the available information.
  2. If there is an appeal to disagree, the claim is moved to the lower level appeal section, often called a tribunal and a hearing is held to fully explore and add facts and evidence not available, or misunderstood during the adjudication phase.
  3. If there is an appeal to disagree with a tribunal hearing decision, most states do not conduct hearings to hear the reasons for an appeal, but accept written arguments.

Why It's Important to Decipher Why You Should Be Allowed to Collect Unemployment

It's impossible for me to tell anyone, based upon simple questions such as ..

Can I get unemployment if I quit for health reason?

Can I get unemployment if I was fired for poor performance?

But that's because neither question reveals any real details that might explain what makes the claim well suited to fit in with basic quasi-legal argument that can either improve odds of prevailing, or explain the damage already done .. which sadly, is choosing not to act first to correct and preserve an employment relationship.

However, who am I to say you can't choose to throw yourself at the mercy of a claim adjudicator, or hearing officer mandated to administer the law fairly, and impartially to do their job .. and instead, end up feeling sorry for you .. but few others.

To use the definition of quasi in another sentence.... 

I have momentary flashes where I think I'm thinking somewhat like a lawyer .. because that is pretty darn close to how unemployment insurance, a form of administrative law expects even unemployed people to think about an ability to collect, even if their employer must think the same way to stop unemployment benefits .. even when stopping benefits .. means an unemployment overpayment.

State Unemployment Laws And Other Free Self Help Resources

I don't really enjoy reading state unemployment laws anymore than other non-attorneys do, but that's   because laws aren't often annotated for the general public to explain how a law is put into action to work on different scenarios of how people come to be unemployed. 

What I do like is any unemployment law resource that enables me to at least come closer to interpreting what state legislators intended when they wrote and made substantial changes to State 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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