Can You Collect Unemployment?

Before the recession officially began in 2008 I like many, lost my job thanks to being laid off due to a workforce reduction.  A lucky, or a sad thing, depending on one's point of view about their job.

I knew how unemployment worked. But what I knew best was how unwise I would be to assume my layoff was also a guarantee I wouldn't have to put up a fight to collect unemployment benefits for the duration, or at least until I found more suitable work.

I have to admit I felt lucky because my job required me to know more than the usual suspects about the rules of unemployment eligibility in a lot more than just one state. 

If there is a purpose for the articles about specific issues and the many Q&As found here, it's that all should get any reasonable person, thinking about what, during the employment, creates an ability to collect unemployment benefits, in a different way than most newly unemployed people do.

You will need to focus on issues found in UI law vs. your personal feelings, to find your winning unemployment appeal argument, because a story about being unemployed often needs a bit of spinning to effectively work to your advantage even when it's the employer that appeals.  

In theory, if an argument works to win an the first appeal hearing, it should of worked to fight an initial denial of unemployment benefits.

It's time employees learn what makes initial claim determinations erroneous, or at least, questionable and appealable with merits presenting the possibility of winning the FIRST unemployment appeal hearing.

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Please Read the Full Site Disclaimer ..because I, nor this site can be the unicorn some claimants search for .. an unemployment lawyer.

How to Collect Unemployment:  Resources to Learn About the Issues

Basic issues are what disqualify a person from receiving benefits.  They are also the same issue that can allow you to be paid unemployment benefits if you argue to the issue.    

If you're a lucky, in addition to a state's specific unemployment laws, your state may provide case examples by publishing a manual of selected precedent unemployment decisions .. by issue.

Do not be surprised if you happen to read a precedent that cites ignorance of an issue is not an excuse that translates to having good cause to collect unemployment. 

Why, how and when someone can validly argue to collect unemployment was precisely what prompted a personal project of answering unemployment questions.  

Although I've slowed way down on free answers .. it's because I'm not able to do your thinking for you.  

But, go figure, I did chose to become an unemployment benefits coach to unemployed people and yes, as a way for me to get back to earning a living.

How The Unemployment Process .. Gets You

The most frequent appellant of initial non-monetary eligibility claim determinations, is the employer.   This would mean you were initially allowed to collect .. and your employer disagrees with that finding.

Of course, as an unemployed claimant, you also have the right to appeal a determination issued on your claim for unemployment as well.

Yet, I believe strongly that even an employee needs to understand what they are expected to prove, or rebut at a hearing when they decide to fight an initial unemployment claim determination (these are based upon the available information) they also believe to be erroneous.

When you do figure it out .. you're literally paying attention to how the unemployment law was intended and interpreted to work for cases similar, but not necessarily identical to yours.

The first level hearing is usually the last quasi-legal shot to fully explore at least one relevant issue found in your state's Employment Security Act.

this is important to understand.  To say I've been determined to explain to the unemployed how a law can be relevant to a case and even be the cause of an erroneous denial of unemployment benefits, would be an understatement.

You and I must position any argument .. relevant to the burden to prove good cause.  This burden is assigned to the moving party and not so ironically, knowing this burden of proof before you're separated from your job can make an unemployment claim work out better.

If you're ready .. try the Q&As and use the search bar to find infor relevant to your ability to collect unemployment benefits via the common issues that cause most denials and raise questions about your eligibility to start collecting or avoid an overpayment of unemployment benefits.

The Basics Steps to Learn If You Can Collect Unemployment

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.

Unemployment Questions and Answers

Typically, employee's ask all sort of unemployment questions, trying to understand the process of an unemployment claim.  However, my best tip is to find the ability to think critically about your own claim for benefits and realize that is best served by removing the obstacle of emotional response .. to what you're facing once you apply for benefits .. an issue of unemployment law.

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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