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My name is Chris.I worked for three different unemployment claim management companies as an unemployment appeal hearing coordinator.

This alone could raise questions about what motivated me to create unemployment tips clearly to help unemployed people wanting to know if they can collect unemployment.

Although my answers seem to have little to do with denying benefits, in fact, all I've done is reverse the perspective I learned about unemployment insurance from to explain how to increase the chances of avoiding a denial, by understanding how and why it happens when you ignore facts about how unemployment law works.

But this is as close to an objective explanation as I can get.

Subjectively, my personal motivation is due to what happened to me before and after I had to file an unemployment claim when my position of coordinating hearings for independent hearing reps, was eliminated in 2006.  

To say my employer (a company managing other employers UI claims), began throwing up well used tactical unemployment benefit hurdles for me to jump over and that is what finally made me realize I was as culpable to being as indifferent as my employer to use a claimant's ignorance of how unemployment law could work for them .. became a burden increasingly difficult to justify when evaluating merits on a case by case basis in return for earning my living.

Denying Unemployment Benefits Stopped Being My Job

Temporarily in 2006, it stopped being my permanent job, until I was asked to return as a temp later that year.

In 2006, I was fifty-one and already thinking about what I would rather do for a living when reaching retirement age.  I was also on an approved FMLA  leave from my job.  

Laid up on my couch after surgery,  it took a few rings to get to the phone.  What I learned was i would be laid off,   but the date it would happen, struck me as odd because as far as I knew I would still be on an approved FMLA leave .. and that didn't make sense .. not only because FMLA protects a job, but because of my age now making me a member of a protected class that can be discriminated against.

But being a neurotic sort of diligent cog due to all my experience in the appeal hearings wheel house, I thought  I'd better check the FMLA paper work.  I had received  it in the mail from the comp management company handling my FMLA leave, but frankly, I had other things on my mind and hadn't opened it yet.

Suffice it to say after I checked it over, the next two weeks were filled with a series of phone calls and emails (for documentation purposes, in case I had to disprove a "voluntary quit by failing to return from a leave of absence")  to get the erroneous date on the leave paper altered. The comp management company had taken liberties with changing the date my doctor had provided as my estimated return to work date.  Could I have been coded as a DNR  (do not return)?

Why don't employees talk coherently about employer strategies used in the workplace  to minimize the financial liability risks .. they often are seen as by an employer?

Maybe it because most employees are busy working for a living, or keeping their heads down as a strategy to avoid trouble in the workplace?  Have your own say.

Hard Choices When You Decide to Protect Yourself

Okay, it was not really a big deal that I knew how to fend of a low ball erroneous date tactic, although it consumed me for two weeks.    No, it was not an error by the comp mgmt. company.

I had an email thread that laid all my efforts out in chronological order, to preserve my job .. at least until the actual layoff date.

I filed my unemployment claim when my doctor finally, did release me back to working .. with a few temporary measures and minor restrictions.  

But, my employer pushed and I had to once again respond to protect my rights to collect with not one, but two separate attempts by my employer when they sent "informational letters".  These are not uncommon (check out a report fraud button on a official UI website).  In my case they were intended to give the department conditional eligibility reasons to investigate .. that do stop benefits after a person is found non-monetarily eligible.  

1.  First they suggested I wasn't  able and available to work.

Excuse me, my doctor had given me a signed a release .. so I sent it to the department to prove I was A&A  before I filed a claim.

2.  Next, it was flat out asserted, I had refused an offer of continuing suitable employment from them.

No I didn't.  But I was able to provide a faxed copy of the email I sent to the branch manager reiterating the regretful phone conversation we'd had about the company wide hiring freeze, which supposedly had prevented them from making me an offer of suitable work in the  .. tax auditing department .. ugh!

I took care of it all, once again, because I had a job once that  turned me into a compulsive neurotic documenter to prove the truth to also be a credible fact.

They offered me my old job back, but through a staffing agency who was also a client of the cost control company.

After sixteen weeks of collecting benefits and applying for jobs, all the while thinking, I should find a different line of work, I decided whatever job I managed to get with what appeared to be an undesirable set of skills and knowledge from my last job, I decided to learn how to build a website in my spare time .. since everyone else seemed to know how.  (Different unemployment story about fulfilling self-employment dreams).

It's was while daydreaming about whatever my first website would be about, my old employer, called me and it wasn't to tell me how sorry they were for being such ..... a pain in my benefits, but to ask if I would come back to that position they had eliminated for at most, six months.

My heart sunk .. because even if  they didn't have me by the at-will neck, they had my benefits all wrapped up and denied if I'd refused.  (Anyone thinking about refusing a suitable job offer?)

SIX month offer to do the same job I'd been laid off from at the same rate of pay?  Better than receiving those unprecedented, new fangled,  never ending,  unemployment extensions .. by tiers during a massive recession .. that made it hard to find one suitable job to apply for .. let alone the seven I was required to.

Unemployment-Tips was born not just to help my fellow employees trying to get UIB, but to hang onto them by not ignoring how this system of insurance works ..  and it was coincidentally, the means for me to practice building a website, one unemployment question at a time.

Please Release Me .. Let Me Go

It used to be a beautiful song lyric about unrequited love.   It became this temp employee's refrain when six months was long gone and I was  going on three years of being a temp coordinator, that someone would fire me .. for doing by job to the best of my ability .. which has always been dictated by my own standards and expectations .. than those of any employer .. which I also know.

Funny how things work out sometimes, in that they aren't obvious at first as being an answer to a prayer.

I developed another medical issue.  My doctor said it was stress related.  After discussing my job, she said  I should ask about a work accommodation to restrict working to only forty hours a week.

They refused to reduce the workload to make the specific accommodation possible and they also wouldn't pay me overtime for the twenty, to thirty hours of overtime I and permanent employees were putting in.  Only difference, they were being paid OT to manage a three hundred percent increase in their workloads too.

So .. I quit a temporary assignment due to health reason that only became attributable to my employer because they were the party that forced me into making an objective decision about my own health .. vs. working seventy hours a week for forty hours of pay.  

Frankly, I thought I was being nice and they should of considered themselves lucky I wasn't hell bent on filing an overtime wage complaint.

But the temp agency chose to compound an mistake related to unemployment when they released me from the unending cycle of being a "temp employee" on one suitable job assignment, after another.

I knew they had let me off their hook, but only because I knew I had good cause to quit the temp assignment .. then the burden would be shifted to the temp agency to prove I was discharged for work related misconduct.  Good luck with that .. I was a great employee and coordinator.

This is how my discharge went down.

I had quit the assignment and I knew I could prove it as being with good cause.  But still, within forty eight hours of quitting I knew I had to prepare to avert the impact of my state's  special temp worker voluntary quit provision, I contacted the staffing agency for a new job assignment because I was in fact, able and available to work forty hours a week .. just not at night due to an inner ear thing.

"You are a DO NOT USE  now because you voluntarily quit your job assignment".

Something about the tone  she delivered this bit of news with, didn't sit well with this temp,  so I thought I'd make something perfectly clear about what it was I'd been doing for a living .. before and after I was this staffing agency's employee.   Then I suppose we'll be in touch again, at the unemployment hearing you're going to need request.

The temporary staffing company wasn't just the employer responsible for any benefits paid to me, they were also a very large client of my former employer who I'd been working for as a temp hearing coordinator for nearly three years on top of the previous six years previous.

Unemployment appeals for this particular temp agency and most other clients .. were S.O.P. regardless of any merit for the appeal.

When's a Good Time to Voluntarily Give Up Collecting Unemployment?

It was a BIG relief the day I received notice in the mail  the Unemployment Review Board had dismissed the temp agency's second appeal after their first appeal ended up a big loser for them .... again.

But something came over me in that moment of relief that  forced me to make a choice that made my husband think I'd lost my mind.  

"I'm going to stop collecting anymore benefits".

They say collecting benefits is literally what keeps some people from looking for work. I myself know it's also what makes them feel like they should accept unsuitable work when offered .. which is what can lower the bar on what suitable work once was for them before they became unemployed.

But for me, it was knowing that when you can collect unemployment, you're also keeping yourself inside a tight box labeled. At Will Employees Only.

The fact that I thought I could get benefits .. no matter how I became unemployed was like a mental ball and chain that kept me from exploring outside that box.

But this time, it was the justified fear of what I wanted to do that would definitely create conditional eligibility issues to continue collecting .. unless I decided to give up on the idea of offering unemployment services such as referrals to hearing reps .. who can manage a claim from beginning to end by preventing problems.

Sometimes it's okay to take a chance, but for me, when playing with unemployment benefits .. taking chances is risky business .. whether you need benefits for a valid reason, or need to find a valid reason to stop benefits from being paid.

Every state has  a precedent unemployment decision that basically says the same thing about being responsible and prepared with a valid argument for the issue addressed at an unemployment hearing.

 "It is the duty and responsibility of a party, not the court, to search for and uncover legal authority in support of the party's argument."

I, and those I work with uncover what works better on a case by case basis and how unemployment is intended to work state by state.


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