Unemployment Laws and Even Better Resources

Although Unemployment-tips.com is basically me, a non-attorney, yapping incessantly about how I was trained to see how unemployment works, I've been trying to explain how unemployment works if you simply pay attention to how unemployment laws are supposed to work and that can be quite differently from state to state.

Why this is not openly explained by all states themselves, in such a way, that both parties to the at-will employment relationship can understand how to better argue an issue of the laws that control eligibility .. well I have my suspicions about ignorance of the masses being the unseen advantage that's become a double-edged sword in a post recession world.

Basically, my unemployment tip is there is really only one unemployment appeal hearing that matters, if the point of benefits is the ability to survive temporarily without a job after you lost it through no fault of your own, but that of your employer's.

The ability to win the lower level tribunal unemployment hearing without relying on luck alone, is the basis for me questioning how unemployment really works to use a claimants ignorance of unemployment law against them.

A sensible interpretive guide, like this one from the California EDD makes a great deal of sense to me whether you're the employee, or the employer in the matter.

Yet, I know it might just be a dream I have .. that people use the resources below .. because although I can see how laws are made to work .. you might be like me, trying to wrap my head around how algebra works still, at the age of .. well never mind .. on the ground writhing, begging ..  "someone do it for me, or just put me out of my misery .. please.

The most common unemployment appellant is an employer, by the way.

However, they do pay the taxes that fund this federally mandated hot mess of any federal/state partnership program, so I get the fight .. except when even an employer appeal can lack the necessary merits to appeal legitimately, but still somehow find a way to win, mainly because you couldn't figure out how, or why, you might be able to win the first hearing.

I'm providing these resources because even I know from experience why an unemployment lawyer helping unemployed people can be like finding a unicorn.

For those of you who want to argue with me you have paid into this insurance system, therefore deserve to collect, I will concede this..

Per the USDOL, three states require minimal contributions from employees. I'm fairly certain, should you accept the mission to investigate, those three states will end up being Pennsylvania,  New Jersey and Alaska.

Let's Compare Unemployment Laws by State

DOLETA's Unemployment Insurance Law Comparison Charts are my favorite, go to resource when first investigating an issue for state specific clues about collecting, or potentially being denied unemployment benefits because all state laws must fall within wide guidelines from DOLETA. The charts are updated yearly to reflect any changes a state might of made to it's laws recently.  

Of course what you find below does not eliminate the need to investigate further by going to a state's unemployment laws, or other state interpretive resource like the CA UIBDG (linked to above).

The charts also have a handy Table of Contents, helpful for finding a specific issue which should concern you, in at least one of the following state by state unemployment law comparison charts.

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 answers similar to those I answered here in years past. However, because numbers change the outcome of a monetary formula, you'll want to keep the one linked to above open in a separate tab to compare to the current requirements in 2015.

Nonmonetary Eligibility for Separation Causes - Compare how states treat the common reasons people quit a job as well as the disqualifications for both voluntary quits and discharges for work misconduct, .. to name just a couple issues you should understand to better appeal of an initial determination.  

Remember, an initial nonmonetary eligibility determination can deny, or allow benefits, but all determinations are subject to a first level timely appeal and if your employer appeals .. you don't want to lose by default for no showing up, or being prepared to win on the merits.  (See the consequences below about repaying unemployment)

Unemployment Appeals - The first level unemployment appeal phase for a claim, only proceeds if you, your employer, or the state agency itself, decides to appeal an initial claim determination.  

This chartbook provides the deadlines for both first and second level appeals and the chosen process of how a state handles second level appeals. (Please note, some states do not have a typical board of review appeal process and in some states an untimely appeal may literally, become a winning edge .. for either an employer, or you.) 

Repaying Unemployment Benefits´╗┐ - In 2015 I see a clear need for all those collecting unemployment benefits to understand not only that unemployment fraud is a dangerous game to play, but that being accused of it by a state who thinks you're not meeting those conditional eligibility requirements, will always right, thus an appeal can be an essential before you can prove the state wrong .. or at least take the fraud recovery provision out of the picture.

This chartbook details and compares the recovery provisions for both fraud and non-fraud overpayment of benefits, and in some states one that allows for a non-fraud OP wavier under certain proven circumstances.

Covered by Unemployment Insurance - Granted, most employees in the United States are covered by unemployment insurance laws, but there are exceptions to every rule.   However, sometimes it's an employee who is monetarily disqualified for lack of wage credits in their base period, who must now appeal.. merely because their employer broke the rules about who's wages they chose not to pay unemployment tax on.  I think this is a must read for all claimants who were treated as an independent contractor, or self employed people who may be eligible to receive unemployment depending on the state and the way they structured a business they may now need to close. 

Employment Security Acts and Precedent Decisions About Unemployment Benefits

Employment Security Acts aka, unemployment insurance laws, are not created equally, but they all must fall within the minimum requirements of federal guidelines.  

Maintaining the working order of the state links below is classified as one of my part-time jobs here ..

Please email me if you find a broken link .. I'll appreciate while I continue 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 through revealing precedent decision to the general public..

Alabama Unemployment Statutes

Alaska Unemployment

Alaska is one of three states where employees actually are required to pay a portion of the unemployment taxes used to pay for benefits.  Possibly because of this, Alaska unemployment benefit recipiency rates have always been one of the highest in the nation.  In 2013 fifty percent of the total unemployed received benefits as compared to the national average of twenty-five percent received benefits. 

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 


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.

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