Unemployment Laws:   Resources to Help Interpret What They Mean to Your Unemployment Claim

When I was first learning about unemployment laws governing an employer paid insurance, my only experience had been calculating and paying the UI taxes for my father's construction company .. back in the early eighties.  

If you didn't experience that recession, you may not know it too was a bad recession, although none have surpassed the last GREAT recession in terms of how it affected changes to state unemployment statutes. 

I also learned I'd accepted a job in an B2B industry proliferated with mostly non-attorneys vs. actual unemployment lawyers, practicing unemployment laws in multiple states .. I was to say the least, amazed to learn how unemployment insurance really worked.

My job included evaluating and  all the logistical concerns of coordinating an unemployment appeal hearing, for any one of thousands of business clients.

I received no "special" training whatsoever, but I did have a patient supervisor who was willing to answer as many questions as she could.  She was just the sort of manager employer's today are lamenting how hard they are to find.

Yet, some of the questions I was being asked by employers even she couldn't answer.  So, to the best of my ability .. I decided to dig in and do some self-training so as to not sound like an idiot while doing my job to the best of my ability.

I easily found the UI Law Comparison Charts 

They were/are a wealth of useful information about the many common issues of law that shows how unemployment varies in many aspects, from state to UI state agency.    

Basically, variances in unemployment insurance laws occur because all states have the individual power to make rules and regulations when it comes to implementing and promulgating how they will administer mandated federal employment laws.

In the case of Employment Security Acts (another name for State UI laws) A state is good to go, as long as they stick within w-i-d-e federal guidelines.

In the end, it was the comparison charts that guide me to ask better questions do deeper research to answer an employer's question.

Sometimes the questions I asked were simply to argue, or justify a price I had negotiated was reasonable.   This was necessary only in certain states because the state had a rule, or regulation preventing non-attorneys.

Which of course forced me to cold call and find a unicorn, aka an unemployment attorney, to represent an employer.  

Pennsylvania Harkness Decision was about attorney vs. non-attorney representation at PA first level referee hearings.

I probably don't need to mention this, but there was also personal principle involved.  

Doing my job well all those years ago was as important to me as ever, and although a novice, the last thing I wanted to experience was to be fired due to a "complaining customer" even more ignorant about unemployment law than I was while I trained myself.

I know ..  no one wants to hear anyone whine about old jobs and since you're just here and excited to dig into your specific state unemployment law to help yourself .. I'm letting go.

Sincerely, still my favorite go to resource for a little preliminary research on a whole lot of different issues affecting benefits . the DOLETA Comparison Charts.

Unemployment Laws:  Comparison Charts State by State

DOLETA's Unemployment Insurance Law Comparison Charts = My favorite, because they provide me specific clues about different common issues and signal when further research may be necessary.  

Say, at a location where state unemployment laws are kept, or when we get really lucky, a list of state precedent unemployment decisions that help to interpret what the law was intended to actually mean to a real situation.

Each year when DOLETA publishes new charts they also come with a handy Table of Contents. 


Monetarily Qualifying for Unemployment - Most of your questions about qualifying for a valid unemployment claim are answered about being monetarily entitled to collect unemployment benefits.

Additionally, you can find many more questions I answered about monetary issue here to include understanding of a base period and other income you receive that is deductible from benefts.

Nonmonetary Eligibility - Separation Causes - This chart explain a lot about what is meant by "if found otherwise eligible to collect unemployment.  

Examples of non-monetary issues affecting eligibility to receive benefits, even when a claim is monetarily qualified can be found in all the Q&As which include voluntarily quitting, being fired for misconduct,  going to school, suitable work, and temporary jobs.

Unemployment Appeals - In case you haven't noticed, one of my goals has always been to stress why even employees should be prepared to win the first level unemployment appeal hearing .. I stressed why .. even when I answered questions about appeals after someone lost.

Repaying Unemployment Benefits´╗┐ - Please don't tell me you didn't know that when benefits are determined to of been overpaid .. even unemployed people are expected to repay what they did collect per a state's individual recovery provisions .. which may possibly include circumstances under which a wavier of overpayment can be made.  I never created a page just for Q&As about overpayments, but I did eventually write an article to call attention to the two different kinds of OPs .. fraud and non-fraud.

Covered by Unemployment Insurance -  I wonder .. how many people gave up on unemployment benefits .. merely because they didn't have the stamina, or wherewithall to appeal and prove their former employer should of been paying unemployment taxes .. because their employment should of been covered by unemployment insurance .. vs being misclassified as an independent contractor, i.e., self employed.

Unemployment Laws (Also Called Employment Security Acts) and Precedent Decision Manuals

You can find the federal guidelines. 

Maintaining the working order of the state links below is one of my least favorite part-time jobs .. I wonder somtimes why a government website would remove .. or just move resources that can help .. but they do.

Please email me if you find a broken link .. I'll will appreciate it as I continue my work to clean up the mess of links below.

Alabama Unemployment

The state of Alabama is not forthcoming with any valuable information that would shed more light, such as revealing precedent decision to the general public..

Alabama Unemployment Statutes

Alaska Unemployment

Alaska is one of three states where employees actually pay an unemployment tax.  This is probably one reason Alaska unemployment benefit recipiency rates are usually one of the highest in the nation.  In 2013 fifty percent of the total unemployed received benefits as compared to the national average of all states combined at twenty-five percent of the total unemployed able to collect. 

Alaska Unemployment Statues

Arizona Unemployment

Arizona unemployment is indicative of what has happened to benefit recipiency since just prior to the great recession .. It's dropped to an all time low.  Although AZ unemployment recipiency has always sat well below the national average.

Arizona is also one of a handful of states with rules about unemployment attorneys, should you decide representation at a lower level appeal hearing is a wise move.


Administrative Code 


 Precedent Decisions
California UIBDG (good one)

CDLE Reference Library


Delaware - Do you know where





Illinois Unemployment Law Handbook


Iowa Adjudication Guide





Maryland                                                                Decision Digest

Massachusetts                                                DUA Service Rep Manual

Decision Digest







New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico                                         Precedents

New York                                                 Interpretation Index

North Carolina Statues

NC Precedent Manual

North Dakota

Ohio Statutes                             Precedent  Abstract

Oklahoma                                   Precedent Manual



Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota


Texas                                                 Precedents



Precedent Manual

Washington State

Washington DC

West Virginia

Wisconsin                                    Precedents


Many discussions in the  Q&A's  link to specific pages  in many of the resources to help explain the reasoning behind any answer or question I might of asked.

Back to Unemployment Tips Home

Unemployment Questions