Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits?

Employees get more from an at-will employment relationship than a paycheck and  opportunity to be challenged, to learn how to do a job  better with each passing day.    

But few ever think about a quasi-legal ability to collect unemployment benefits should the worst happen and we lose our job through no fault of our own, only to learn our former employer has a different version of a story that points the finger of blame .. directly at us.

One can work their entire life practicing avoidance of  the problems and conflicts in the workplace before they ever have the opportunity to learn what at will truly means and that avoidance isn't a good strategy that works when it time to prove or rebut why you deserve to to collect unemployment benefits, or as it's called in some states, unemployment compensation.  

Make no mistake, once you file an unemployment claim, especially after quitting, or getting fired, you're dealing with a state unemployment insurance program.  Although the state agency is mandated to operate fairly, impartially, it also operates quasi-legally.  In other words, whether benefits are allowed, or denied  you and an employer cannot avoid the outcome is contingent on an area of law, labeled administrative.

So, to get straight to the two burdens of proof at the heart of most unemployment questions I've been asked frequently

For those who must learn how to help themselves, I thoroughly understand.  I've done what I was able and linked to as many official free resources as I could find, so you might get yourself up to speed on whatever the issue is with your unemployment.   However, if you can afford professional appeal hearing representation .. or coaching to do that job better for yourself .. you may want to look into my referral service for an free initial case evaluation.  (Contracting hearing reps for employers, was how I came to learn about unemployment insurance appeals.)

Why, Can, If,  When .. Should You Collect Unemployment?

I don't know, at least not yet, why, how, or even if, YOU should be allowed to collect benefits.

 But can  isn't off the table, at least in my opinion, until I, or a professional unemployment hearing representative evaluates your case for merits needed for the possibility of representation, or coaching.

Asking yourself questions about unemployment issues and the common problem of knowing what makes a merit a merit for a valid argument relevant to UI law, is to learn about unemployment insurance's issues, burdens, and how both work together in conjunction with specific state unemployment laws, to allow, or deny benefits.

This is opposed to what unemployed people often do and stay more focused on irrelevant personal feelings about the loss of their job.

Get your heart out of your head and think quasi-legally .. or to use the definition of quasi in a sentence. Think somewhat like a lawyer.

How to Collect Unemployment and What Can Stop Benefits

Explaining the Cause that Ended the Employment Relationship

For the sake of simplifying, what unemployment departments everywhere are keenly interested in learning about, but only when  someone  applies for unemployment benefits ..  is the final incident that caused the employee, or employer to make the choice to separate and end what is otherwise, an at-will employment relationship.  

Unemployment insurance may be the last vestige of hope an employee thinks about, but it's also what gives an employee,  an exception, that circumvents the no fault conditioning of the at-will employment doctrine.  The doctrine is what allows you to quit, or be fired for any reason .. even those without good cause.  But unemployment laws require good cause to be the moving party .. and proving good cause can be a project .. before a person quits, or gets fired.

The unemployment process begins when you go online and file a claim.  When you apply, you will be asked questions.  The claim process is what initially gathers the available information about the circumstances leading up to the final incident resulting in ..

  • a voluntary quit of suitable work with, or without good cause
  • a discharge for misconduct, or something other than misconduct  
  • a discharge due to a lack of work.  Being laid off is when an employer initially admits fault.

The moment you submit your claim for unemployment benefits, a file begins to be created.  It contains everything the state does to resolve the issues found in it's unemployment laws .. relevant to your claim and your last, and possibly all base period employers.

However,  claimant's often miss the point of their own claim, when they fail to provide relevant information about a quit, or discharge to relate information to the actual burden that must be proven by the moving party..

So .. why don't we try to define what a party to a claim should be doing while an employment relationship still exists to document facts that help to meet .. and ultimately, if an unemployment appeal is filed, sustain, or rebut the burden at the hearing that results from disagreeing with an initial claim determination.

Unemployment When You Quit

Voluntarily quitting a job  makes the employee the moving party with the responsibility to prove fault for quitting a job was connected to the work, or the employer. 

Learn more about a voluntary quit with good cause.

Unemployment When Fired

Being fired from a job makes the employer the moving party with the responsibility to prove the employee was discharged for misconduct somehow connected to the work.                        

Learn more about being fired for misconduct connected to the work.

Suitable Work When Laid Off for Lack of Work

Being laid off is a situation when all that's needed to collect is an employer admitting you're unemployed due to a lack of work.

But what happens when the state hears you also refused continuing suitable work?

Learn more about suitable work.

Questions and Answers About Collecting Unemployment Benefits

(Please note: I am not currently accepting new questions about the chances you will collect.  

However, there is quite a large collection of varying unemployment questions already asked and answered to the best of my ability the information allowed me.

Although you can still submit a story about your own workplace experience if you choose, since it is what happens at work, or what doesn't happens, that leads to some real issues employees face often after they apply for unemployment.

All new submission may be added as an update on the blog.

FAQs  About Quitting

Q&As about quitting a job with good cause pertain to how I would plan before, or after the fact that I had quit with good cause, or to understand why you might just choose to move on and find another job, with more understanding should there ever be a next time.

Read Q&As About Good Cause to Quit a Job

FAQs About Getting Fired

Q&As about getting fired pertain to  when there might be a better way to argue a discharge was not for misconduct, or to come to a realization of how guilt is proven by an employer, before they fired you from a job.                                                    

Read Q&As About Rebutting Misconduct

FAQs About Suitable Work

Q&As about suitable work pertain to quitting it, or refusing an offer of suitable work before, or after someone files an unemployment claim. Collecting benefits is conditionally, based on you searching for suitable work.    

Read Q&As About Criteria of Suitable At-Will Employment

The Purpose of an Unemployment Appeal

Tribunal unemployment appeal hearings are in reality, the first level administrative law appeal hearings where a party is given their last chance to explain fully, why they disagree with an initial claim determination.  The first hearing is your day in court .. so to speak .. without actually going to court .. which in reality, is the intent and purpose of unemployment, or any other laws subject to administrative law rules of procedure.

A tribunal, or commission lower level hearing is both party's to the disagreement, one chance to provide important information, possibly missed, or not available at the time an initial determination was made and based upon the available information to finally help develop a FULL record of the relevant facts pertaining to a job separation.  

For all intents and purposes, the decision that result from a full fact finder proceeding called a hearing is basically, the final word on whether benefits should be allowed, or denied.

The next appeal usually goes to an unemployment insurance board of review, or may be called a request for reconsideration from the lower appeal section to show cause for why the hearing decision was not proper.  Generally speaking, this appeal has less to do with arguing about fault for the job separation as it does with reasons the hearing officer erred with your rights of due process, or applying the unemployment law to come up with an "erroneous decision".

State Unemployment Laws And Other Free Self Help Resources

I don't really enjoy reading state unemployment laws .. most  because they don't explain how a law is put into action to work on different scenarios of how people come to be unemployed. 

What I do like to find is any free state, or federal unemployment law resource that enables me to at least come closer to interpreting what state legislators intended when they wrote those 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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