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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If.....

Unemployment eligibility raises lots of questions for those uncertain about how it works, as well as those who know more about it than the average employee.

The two I've been asked frequently,  "Do you think I can collect unemployment if  I quit my job, or if I was fired."

Both are the primary non-monetary separation eligibility issues that in my experience with unemployment insurance, caused for more denials of unemployment benefits after an unemployment hearing including those initially allowed to collect benefits, than any other issue .. for instance a problem with monetarily qualifying, or raising a conditional eligibility issue while certifying for weekly benefits.  

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By 2006,  with thousands of tribunal unemployment hearings and access to the resulting hearing decisions behind me, I felt like I'd been made ready to move on from thirty five years of being an "at will employee". 

Unlike other employees who collect unemployment, I knew moving on and changing my future "career path"  isn't as straightforward as just following your own dream to work for a living the way you want to, and primarily when you are allowed to receive benefits.  

Think about the rules found in a claimant handbook, it's difficult to miss that an unemployed person is expected to be compliant with conditional eligibility requirements.  

Things like logging a job search (the proof some of you need now).  Being able and available to accept suitable work.

Knowing how these conditional requirement worked saved my bacon and my benefits.  So, to be a reasonable person, my first step to move on to the greener pasture of being self employed seemed logical to me at the time.   I decided to find out if I could even learn how to build a website .. just in case I found the gumption to turn my hobby into the very small business without any employees .. I wanted to retire from the workforce with.

Writing about collecting, or denying benefits, depending on the perspective a question may make me take, felt right for me in 2006 even if it was motivated because I was laid off while an FMLA leave, and knew I may have  to deal with my employer .. not deviating from their S.O.P.

You can learn more about me, my own unemployment story and my thoughts .. about why people who do lose a job through no fault of their own can be denied unemployment erroneously by their own silence as an employee, that does not yet know what they need to prove later .. after facts are cemented .. or not easily recalled. 

I hope you find something to help as you  explore the free tips about collecting unemployment 

Or a tip that may be more helpful to someone still an at will employee.   

The only safe assumption I make for you, is that unemployment benefits, although said to be fair and impartial, doesn't exclude a state unemployment administrative law agency (aka your unemployment department) from having reasonable expectations that employees who do apply .. have done a little quasi-legal research to know how their unemployment benefits .. are connected to how and why employment is ended.

And that the process is a lot like investigating a car accident, where the claimant is always .. an uninsured driver.


Unemployment Blog

  1. How does working part-time while collecting florida unemployment affect your benefits?

    Apr 22, 17 04:13 PM

    A worker will lose their job as the office she works in is closing down. if she can pick up part time work how does that effect her unemployment compensation.

    Read More

  2. Pending Status in NY...Questionnare Already Filled Out

    Apr 21, 17 04:42 PM

    So I was laid off from my job at the end of March. I applied for unemployment in April and now it is the third week of my claim. I filled out all the questionnaires

    Read More

Once you know the basics pertaining to the burden of proof affecting benefits, the answers to questions about unemployment benefits,  will likely make more sense and you can begin thinking like the person mentioned often in unemployment decision ..... The Reasonable Person.

Unemployment Tips  .. for Unemployed People.

Up front, know that free information, explanations, blog answer and services are subject to a disclaimer, privacy policy and FTC disclosure.

Yet, I have never stopped believing that if an employee could gets some help to wrap their head around the essential ways unemployment insurance works and varies from state to state, some will be able to detect they when their own initial denial of benefits might be erroneous and worth appealing.

Exploring the Burden of Using Unemployment Insurance Law to Your Advantage

What is Meant by ..  Meeting, or Rebutting a Burden of Proof?   

Ask me and I'll likely tell you the unemployment insurance process is set up to be adversarial and most employees who lose their job through no fault of their own .. and are then denied benefits, tend to shy away from controversy, or confrontation at work.  That alone is often the beginning of the end result for their benefits .. often lost only after a lower level appeal hearing.

What I did for many employers that worked, was to use the unemployment process better, and once you understand the value of supporting your story with documentary evidence, you may help yourself as well to compel those conducting tribunal unemployment appeal hearings (also known as the full fact finder hearing) to decide in your favor because relevant evidence, is what add the weight of credibility to your words of testimony, regardless of is initially assigned burden to prove where the fault was .. at the end of a job.

Know the Burden and If You're Arguing For .. or Against It

What is Good Cause to Quit a Job?

Good cause to quit your job is what an employee should focus on proving before they quit .. to meet their burden and prove the fault for voluntarily quitting your job, can reasonably be attributed to the employer and/or work itself after they quit.  People quit for all sorts of reason that might be good cause, but they just can't prove it after the fact, to an unemployment departments quasi-legal tests, to initially meet, or sustain the fault was that of an employer's .. after the first appeal hearing.

Sidenote:  If you're working as a temp employee, through a staffing agency .. a number of states have special voluntary quit provisions .. just for you.

What is Misconduct When Fired From a Job?

Misconduct is simply, an employer's good cause to fire an employee and not be required to pay for benefits.  However, those with the authority to fire employees at work are usually employees too and some of them also ignore the court decision that first defined what work misconduct is.   Imagine what was relevant in 1941 .. is still relevant today all, or in part to how states define misconduct.    

Rebutting a discharge isn't as difficult as proving the burden to quit,  however, to qualify that statement, one should never ignore the business experience and long history of denying benefits .. to employees who keep quiet until unemployed and then wish they hadn't .. after they apply.

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.

Are You Using the State Unemployment Process, to Your Advantage?

If you've not heard, or read,  unemployment insurance laws in fact vary by state, know I just see this as a federal acknowledgement a state is still sovereign. Even if it's federal law trying to protect us from at will employment by forcing states to comply with the mandate of a state/federal unemployment insurance partnership where each is allowed to write it's own varying Employment Security Act.   

Yet, the unemployment process from state to state works much the same with only a few a handful throwing in deviations in the process to quasi-legally and administratively speaking drag the process out and the burden of deciding benefits off a tribunal section of a department .. for as long as possible.

Odd thing is .. when a state insists on delaying the unemployment process, it may be to minimize those who push back when initially denied, but wane, when they realize a claim redetermination (Ohio), or reconsideration (Illinois) is part and parcel of what you must go through .. to get to the full fact finder appeal level. 

An unemployment claim section accepts applications for benefits and provides initial adjudication for two separate initial determinations. First, they take care of adjudicating the monetary issues.  

Then comes the non-monetary separation issue which is where fault for a voluntary quit, a discharge for misconduct, and sometimes, even  a lack of work comes into play.

The claim department may have to become involved throughout the remainder of a benefit year to adjudicate any new issues that arise to affect benefits when someone continues to file weekly claims to receive benefits.  Generally these are referred to as conditional eligibility such as whether you're able and available to accept suitable work.

An initial claim determination can be easily objected to when the party aggrieved by it's findings writes even a basic unemployment appeal letter.

Determinations are based upon the "available information".

The lower level unemployment appeal section accepts appeals of claim determinations. This lower level appeal body of a department provides us with the indispensable right to due process to disagree. Many employers wouldn't think of ignoring the right to appeal when benefits are allowed initially.  The hearing, aptly referred to as the full fact finder hearing,  establishes the full record of facts via testimony and evidence, including any relevant info or proof, not made available by an employer, or claimant at the initial claim determination phase.

A tribunal hearing decision has the power to sustain, (affirm) reverse, or modify an initial claim determinations.  A lower level appeal hearing decision is in reality, the last word on allowing, or denying benefits, unless the decision is successfully appealed to an unemployment insurance board of review, usually for good cause related to protecting a party's rights to due process. 

If you're thinking applying for unemployment opens you up to a legal process .. you might be over thinking since quasi-legal only turns legal if a party appeals a board of review's order to an actual court of law that accepts appeals addressing board orders often based on the record established at the first hearing.

Learn more about unemployment appeals and hearings

Question Whatever Your Argument is Now, to Improve the Odds You Will Collect and Keep Unemployment Benefits

You may want to use a search bar, located at the top of each page of this website, to narrow the field of answers about unemployment benefits.. before you decide to ask a question .. because there's been a ton of Q&As .. so many this page takes a while to load and the links become clickable.  Sorry .. my bad.

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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