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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits ...?

How do you collect unemployment benefits?

The answers to very common questions about unemployment, can often be tricky to discern definitively.   Mainly because most who askthought they did quit with good cause, or were fired for something other than misconduct.  At least this is what they thought, before they knew what the burden of proof meant to their claim and how the administrative law agency decides fault, or eligibility to collect, based on those two issues, always found in state unemployment laws.

In a nutshell, I think has been at least one employee's soapbox, to aggregate her personal experiences with unemployment insurance, as well as following along the lines of her firmly held belief; it's employees who need to know how to receive unemployment and know like her,  (a complete non-attorney prone to advocating), what enables an employer to get a denial of unemployment if they grasp onto an arguable point going to fault and a claimant fails or stops focusing on a specific burden that must be proven by the moving party..

When an at-will employment relationship ends and accusations of fault start flying after you apply for unemployment it's time to stop and think about the inherent value in taking a higher road, that can help you to reach the standard of law expected of you by your unemployment department.   

From up there you can see the same objective view a department should be taking of the relevant facts, that really are connected to the appropriate burden they must adjudicate.

A burden is what forces even those who know the law, to ignore what's irrelevant .. or not to be fair and impartial, which for some of you, will feel like you weren't treated that way .. in the beginning, or all the way through to the end.

Unemployment Benefits Blog

  1. Appeal got dismissed. Can't really do anything about it now.

    Sep 15, 16 10:42 AM

    So I voluntarily left my employer on a good note with no issues. It was all on good terms. I had planned to relocate out of state. I was in the planning

    Read More

  2. Oregon unemployment claim interview after discharge for being tardy to work to take my son to doctor appointments.

    Sep 13, 16 04:30 PM

    Hi Chris, I have my phone interview tomorrow for unemployment claim in Oregon. Employer discharged me for tardiness I found out. Originally, I got a call

    Read More

However, no matter what you think about the treatment your unemployment claim received, you filed an unemployment claim because you believe they should of found you blameless, or at least the most blameless.

Those who get lost in the process may of not used it to their best advantage because they were only capable of feeling desperation, anger, hurt feelings or whatever else at the time, worked to take their focus off the burden that must be explored.  Ironically, it's in that burden where you may find the answer you're looking for, or why you could be allowed benefits, if  you know how to make the verbal argument giving you the ability, to be found eligible to collect unemployment benefits ..

Not coincidentally, an employer's argument can also show you what you may need to be prepared to guard against, when they too have found a way to legitimately protest a former employee should be denied unemployment benefits.

Strengthen Your Position to Collect Unemployment Fairly and Impartially

Frequently, a states FAQs can be insufficient to do anything, but raise more questions in the mind of an unemployed novice.  At least this is my thoughts and I'm someone who possesses a certain level of knowledge about how the unemployment process really does work in a whole lot of different states .. thanks to a job.

The chart to the left shows the percentage of the total unemployed that managed to collect unemployment last year, state by state.   That it was only 27% nationwide in 2015 that did collect unemployment, speaks volumes to me because it explains how a lack of information can also translate to an inability to win a winnable unemployment appeal hearing where you have your last chance to argue to the burden about the fault.

So, my question about unemployment is simple, why wouldn't a state display, on it's unemployment administrative law agency's official website .. all anyone, employer, or employee,  needs to know to use the system of unemployment insurance and benefits, effectively?  Might I suggest, some claimants may benefit more if they were to read the information designated for employers, businesses ... or third party UI claim administrators.

When looking for information that explains how to make unemployment laws work for you, or against you, try looking for an agency's regulations, decision manuals, or digests, administrative law rules of procedures.   You really should dig to get a better idea of how you can prepare better than the average claimant, to win a winnable tribunal unemployment hearing.

Here's some of my favorite free official resources. I use them frequently to get some very basic answers to questions, or you could use them and even hunt for those you think I've missed, to begin prepping for an appeal argument related to the "reason" and circumstances you became unemployed.

Since 2009, I've not only answered a lot of questions on the blog about what I used to do for a living, but I've also worked to provide  something better than free Q&As by trying to give access to professional unemployment representation ..

Because as you might know, not everyone who needs or wants help, will find , or qualify for, free legal aid  .. Nor find those who have chosen to label themselves as.. unemployment lawyers ;)

The Unemployment Appeal Burden of Proof You Shouldn't Ignore

A burden of proof is initially assigned to the moving party.   Therefore, the responsibility that goes with this assignment is to show the fault as being attributable to the non-moving party.  So ....

Have I mention lately that the Unemployment Insurance process is that of the state administrative law agency in control of finding fault on each claim filed?

Although most of us call it the unemployment office .. or department,  when you apply for unemployment benefits the initial claim process can feel like the end because it can turn into a drawn out while you wait penniless, and increasingly desperate, for not one, but two initial claim determinations.  

The second of which, should be your primary concern since it's called the non-monetary, aka the separation determination that decides fault and whether you begin collecting a weekly benefits, or have to appeal to get a hearing to fully explore the facts surrounding a voluntary quit, or discharge for misconduct, or any conditional eligibility issue that might of come up .. like being able and available to work.

Additionally, something many miss is if the employer is the aggrieved party to this determination .. they can appeal too for a hearing and you should attend a hearing because not attending can stop your benefits faster than you can say "dropdown box".

The standard of law used to make this second initial claim determination is .. findings based upon the available information.

Seriously folks, available information at this point in the unemployment process, is frequently, not sufficient enough to secure a quasi-legal right to collect unemployment if you quit your job with good cause, or a denial of unemployment if you were discharged for the misconduct .. 

It's really rather easy to file an unemployment appeal to either initial claim determination.  But  a simple letter of appeal that signals your disagreement will generally suffice and lead to a lower authority unemployment hearing being docketed, or scheduled by the appeal section of the administrative law agency .. which is where your claim is transferred to, when an appeal letter is received .. and usually, officially acknowledged when both parties receive a copy of the appeal letter.

Believe me, it can be a rather large and irreversible mistake to underestimate the importance of preparing a valid verbal argument to present at this first, or tribunal unemployment hearing .. held by phone in a majority of the states. 

If you have questions about your unemployment at this point ..  I'm can't say I'm surprised, but the fact is .. that's because I've already answered a lot of questions about a handful of issues that affect millions of unemployment claims.

Questions, Answers, Discussions .. About Collecting Unemployment?

In 2008, I added the Unemployment Benefits Blog to this website.  My reason was because .. well I answered questions about unemployment insurance because I felt like exposure to what I repeatedly evaluated about the moving party's might be missing, if there were only those basic articles going to the burden to prove, or rebut fault as it's should be connected to a reason for voluntarily quitting a job with good cause, or being discharged for misconduct connected to the work.

It was to show there can be an alternative spin to prove, or rebut fault for the reason an at-will relationship is ended.

My apologies that the number of Q&As grew to close to 4,000.   However, by the time I realized the domain name I chose for this website might of been better, I believed I had explain sufficiently that I think it is a preemptive approach as an employee to actively protect your rights while in the workplace, that improved my own ability to collect unemployment benefits when I needed them .. until I felt safe enough to not need to collect benefits again.

Here's the Q&A categories.

Many answers came with additional  warnings and links in support of an idea for an argument that might help avoid any horrific consequences of issues having to do with an overpayment determination after losing a hearing. .. or for those I feared might be thinking it would help their claim to knowingly misrepresent material facts .. in an effort to obtain benefits .. such as choosing laid off instead of voluntary quit, or discharge for the reason for opening the claim in the first place.

Unemployment Tip of the Day, Week, Month, or Year

A common mistake of unemployed people, you can choose to avoid now, is allowing what you feel about how you lost your job, to not interfere with with finding a valid argument and objectively over preparing to win the first unemployment hearing.

When people use their own subjective feelings about why they know they quit, or got fired, they have a sort of blindness to how they might use unemployment law as it was intended to work for them,  instead of against them, when they fail to argue to the laws that control the idea of fault.   

Don't fight against the burden .. scour  it and use what you find in to see any advantage you might have that works to the goal of sustaining  or rebutting, your own lack of fault .. for the actual cause of the separation.  And remember the final incident is usually where you find the cause explored by the unemployment department .. 

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.               

Recapping How it Works and the Need to Know How to Win  Unemployment Appeal Hearings

A state unemployment insurance agency's  process for claims, can be long, but the process itself is simple and can generally, be broken down into three distinct processes.

  1. It begins with the initial claim process. The claim department is charged with adjudicating claims and making it's findings based upon the available information they are able to acquire at that time.
  2. An unemployment appeal letter to a claim determination is what notifies the department you wish disagree.  Your claim and appeal will be transferred to the lower level appeal section.  A hearing will be scheduled, so facts and/or additional evidence can be added to fully explore information not available, or misunderstood, during the initial adjudication phase.
  3. An appeal that disagrees with a tribunal's unemployment hearing decision is moved to an unemployment insurance board of review.  Most states will only accept written arguments in support of this  last level of appeals still within the jurisdiction of the UI agency.

Recent Articles

  1. Appeal got dismissed. Can't really do anything about it now.

    Sep 15, 16 10:42 AM

    So I voluntarily left my employer on a good note with no issues. It was all on good terms. I had planned to relocate out of state. I was in the planning

    Read More

  2. Oregon unemployment claim interview after discharge for being tardy to work to take my son to doctor appointments.

    Sep 13, 16 04:30 PM

    Hi Chris, I have my phone interview tomorrow for unemployment claim in Oregon. Employer discharged me for tardiness I found out. Originally, I got a call

    Read More

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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