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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If.....

What could employees, currently unemployed, or thinking they may be about to become unemployed through no fault of their own, possibly need to understand in addition to how to comply with regulations to find a new suitable work? 

Well, since you ask  .. I'd say at-will employees could use a different perspective on what makes benefits tick, or not when unemployment insurance administrative law agencies lead those applying for unemployment benefits to believe they can collect unemployment when the fault their own, but then don't provide any help to explain how, or why they may be denied unemployment benefits erroneously based upon the available information, or at an unemployment appeal hearing, frequently initiated by none other than an employer.

Good news .. I'm not an attorney, but I was an employee of an at-will employer in the business of controlling other employer UI tax rates.  I didn't work for a state agency, but I had plenty of phone and fax contact with not one, but the vast majority of state unemployment departments across this country.  The rest of my time as an employee was spent evaluating, preparing and coordinating thousands of (tribunal) unemployment appeal hearings, hiring a non-attorney hearing rep and talking to employer direct witnesses to double check those merits a rep would need.  

I learned a lot, including things I wish I hadn't learned about what people do to each other at work, but most of all, I learned how to be that rarer type employee who understand emphatically, that it's while employed, you're at a point in an employment relationship that still allows even employees, to manage the narrative of the unemployment story they need an unemployment department to hear .. to allow benefits.

Good Cause, Bad Cause, No Cause, Indifferent Cause -  And Embellishing Facts With Sound Proof of Cause.

Unemployment eligibility, in the United States raises lots of questions, but the questions seems to come most often, after losing a job through no fault, which for many claimants can also be a day late to acquire proof in support of  being found eligible for the typical twenty-six weeks of unemployment benefits potentially available to those totally, and even partially, unemployed.

Through no fault of your own, is what I think of as being a loaded statement that causes some people to let their guard down.  It's not only overly broad and generic way to not describe what facts an unemployment department needs to uncover to allow or deny benefits, it does nothing to get an unemployed person into that quasi-legal state of mind, I believe one needs just to see when there might be a better way to argue the facts as they relate to something called the burden of proof of the moving party.

Well, let's face it, an objective mind can be a tall order for someone unemployed and in panic mode.  To make matters worse for those who claim they've never applied for benefits before, there are fifty different state unemployment insurance laws that are interpreted individually by the state and most all have a precedent saying .. ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse for any mistakes of ignorance that may impact you negatively .. when benefits were possible.

Laws also vary outcome of benefits .. up to and including the very meaning of what a state considers the fault to be when the reason for quitting .. or getting fired is the same.

It might be fair to say employees still confused enough to say you have to be fired to collect benefits because it's impossible to get benefits if you quit .. after eighty two years of this federal/state partnership unemployment insurance  .. might be government in action to limit how many can collect benefits ..because let's face it now .. Employers not employees, pay the unemployment taxes that pay for continued operations of each state agency .. and the benefits if found you did lose a job through no fault of your own.

How to Quit, or Get Fired From a Job

I was lucky, experience managing unemployment appeals exposed what works better for employees, like it does for good and honest employers, is being pre-cognizant of the quasi-legal burden of proof.

It is this burden to prove good cause that must be initially met the the moving party at the claim level to a sub .. standard of UI law. Some of you may have already notice it on an initial non-monetary determination.   Based upon the available information ...

But, what if relevant information wasn't made available at the initial level?   Well the aggrieved party to the initial determination can appeal to request a lower level UI hearing.   Once at the hearing,  however, be aware it is still the moving party who must now sustain their burden of proof has been met to a higher standard of law at a hearing also known as the full fact finder.  

Proving fault is generally nothing less than direct testimony supported by evidence of why the non-moving party who did not end the at-will employment relationship, should get the blame for the cause of a job separation.

So, to get back to a basic fact about how unemployment insurance works, it requires even employees, who are a claimant for the first time in their life, to drive home a quasi-legally sound argument for the state administrative law agency (the neutral, or fair and impartial party in all this) to decide who was really at fault once ALL the information has been made available and part of the hearing record .. which is actually recorded for purposes of second level appeals to a board of review .. to listen to while reading along with written arguments.

To see the basis for a better argument it helps to know what the burden of proof expects you to are for .. or against if you must prove ..

Good cause to quit a job.  

Or, rebut you were

Fired for something other than willful work misconduct.

Collect Unemployment Benefits?  It's Easier Said Than Done

 What other reason would there be for answering close to 4,000 questions about unemployment benefits since 2008?

What's New on the Collect Unemployment Blog

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Conditional Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

Not maintaining conditional eligibility, can happen to any person collecting unemployment benefits.  When I noticed a conditional eligibility issue, in a question about a separation issue I was answering .. I often explained how conditional issue become a problem for even those who are found to be "otherwise eligible" on the two basic separation issues of quitting, or being fired.

Read your  "claimant handbook" (you should receive it after applying, and before you know if you get benefits) It should explain a state's rules a claimant must follow, while they wait for, or later, continue to collect benefits after an unemployment appeal.

  • 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.

Questioning Your Argument Before a Tribunal Hearing Improves the Odds You Can Collect, or Keep Your Unemployment Benefits

It's important to question just about everything as to how UI works, but it's vital to know how to approach an issue listed on a notice of hearing because of the burden of proof, and the need for the moving party to sustain the non-moving party provided the good cause to terminate an at will employment relationship .. when it happened.

Problem is .. claimants get all wrapped up in how they feel about losing a job .. rather than anything that might help them  .. like finding something in unemployment law to argue objectively to.

But, that is how to win the first unemployment appeal hearing, or the next problem you may face is how to and what should you base a written argument on, to an unemployment insurance board of review.

Questions often lead to answers .. about how, or what I would consider .. to collect, as well as me trying to explain why one person may collect, when another is denied unemployment and the cause and reason may sound identical .. except for some really important details connected to the burden of proof.

Generally, I find these differences in what I'm told by you and make an assessment of how well the moving party might use those details to meet the burden to prove fault for the reason behind a job separation. 

If you take nothing else, into consideration, know that this is your problem and I know resolving it begins by evaluating your own ability to objectively identify the most obvious quasi-legally based argument that will work for you vs. others many unemployed people use that leaves a wide swathe for a state, mandated to be objectively fair and impartial about the facts to deny benefits, or an employer who will use what you told the department, or revealed in an appeal letter to literally, work against you to get, or keep benefits, after a first level appeal hearing.

Ask me to Refer You to a Professional Unemployment Hearing Representative

Especially if initially allowed benefits and you have an overpayment of unemployment looming as a potential consequence of losing.

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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