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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If ....

Explaining what can make someone eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits, is what I've been attempting to do since 2007.  I do not claim to be a miracle worker when it comes to this stuff, but instead advocate why it's important for employees to also be aware of their rights and responsibilities to use the process to their own benefits.

I learned how unemployment works, at a job where I was kept busy prepping files of additional documents, I knew would support testimony of an employer's direct witness, (those with first hand knowledge of the circumstance leading up to the reason, of cause a claimant quit, or was fired).  To put the purpose of my job bluntly, I was concerned with how an employer would fight to prove a claimant was at fault for quitting, or being fired ..before the lower level (tribunal) unemployment appeal hearing took place. 

It should come as no surprise that when I lost my job through no fault of my own, I was on high alert for more than one way I knew my employer could decide to appeal the determination initially allowing me to receive unemployment benefits.

They didn't let me down, but that also prompted me to have a go at building a website .. to implore claimants to get a grip and find a different answer about how unemployment works. 

I hope you find a FAQ here on Unemployment-Tips.com that resonates, or fits with your reason, or cause to collect.  What I do know for sure, is my answers, although not everyone's cup of tea, are intended to lift a veil on how the unemployment administrative law process works, or why it doesn't for someone to explore further .. or just start asking better questions about the process.  

And in case you're still wondering what I hope you end up knowing is, how of when you should push back on an initial denial of unemployment benefits, which begins by focusing how you would need to rebut you were not fired for misconduct, or prove good cause for why you voluntarily quit your job as being attributable to your employer.

How State Unemployment Laws Work  .. Differently

Unemployment laws  basically work quite similarly state to state.   But, this is not to say that state by state unemployment laws aren't written and then interpreted by the state UI administrative law agency differently, in that the interpretation of law can vary the outcome for claimants dramatically, state by state .. when it comes to how a state is allows itself to assign the fault. 

Variances often reside in special eligibility provisions, written regulations, or court cases.  As long as state doesn't intentionally try to color outside the wide guidelines provided by the USDOL .. they can pretty much dispense their unemployment program .. any way they want.

Fortunately, the USDOL provides the public with cheat sheets that begin to explain how UI varies state to state.    These are aptly named, the Unemployment Insurance Law Comparison Chartbooks.  (You'll find a link to that, among the other free unemployment resources I've found and used over the years .. here.


I believe it's crucial for an unemployed person to have a basic understanding of how the eligibility rules work, as it is for any employer who denial of benefits.

If you are concerned about your ability to collect benefits after you receive the initial monetary determination, followed by the non-monetary determination which is regarding your eligibility to collect benfits vs. the monetary which determines if your claim monetarily qualifies to be paid a weekly benefit amount, I think everyone should know up front, it's the second non-monetary determination about your eligibility to receive benefits, that is frequently appealed by employers.

Should your claim be forced to the point where you need to win a lower level unemployment appeal hearing,  know that many end up denied because they don't give enough thought, or effort to how they can prove, or rebut .. 

The burden of proof, assigned to the moving party 

After you 

Quit for any good cause reason, that may now be difficult to prove fault, as being attributable to the employer.

Or ...

Rebutting why the fault was not your own for the reason an employer decided to fire you from your job and label it as being for misconduct connected to the work.


How to Write an Unemployment Appeal Letter if Initially Denied Unemployment Benefits

I'm often asked for my opinion about an ability for someone to win an unemployment appeal hearing. Usually, those questions come after the initial denial of an unemployment claim, which is much better than those asked after losing a hearing.

The straight and off the top of my head answer, is I don't have a clue if you can win an appeal at least not until I have some information I think is relevant to working within the confines of a particular issue of UI law.  

But here's what I do know about writing an unemployment appeal letter, so it doesn't become the instrument that hurts any chance you might have ..  Keep It Simple Stupid.

At which point, after you've made your appeal .. hopefully timely, to beat the stated deadline for appeal, you can spend some exploring the other answers I hope will help you decide if you have merits that will help you to meet, or rebut the burden of proof 

Unemployment Benefits Q&As

  1. Resigning because of verbally abusive management

    Feb 27, 19 03:57 PM

    I have worked for a company for a few years. The managing partners are rude , verbally abusive , and disrespectful.The job has been affecting my health.

    Read More

  2. Texas Unemployment Appeal Question

    Feb 05, 19 08:10 PM

    I’m in Texas, I wrote earlier today about my appeal process by the name of Jeffery, now to further where I’m going with this I have to know. Now, I told

    Read More

  3. Refusal Form

    Jan 31, 19 10:05 PM

    Hi Chris, I recently had a job offer, but I have heard that there has been very quick high employee turnover and the potential boss can get rid of me

    Read More

Being Prepared to Win an Unemployment Appeal Hearing

I worked as a coordinator of unemployment appeal hearings.  I sincerely believed the basic problem for many unemployed people I thought had a winnable appeal,, was a basic lack of expertise, and not knowing they would be facing more than their former employer, but an expert at the unemployment hearing, I had contracted to represent the employers best interests.  

I always .. and I mean always, contracted a professional hearing rep to help the employer put their best foot forward .. so to speak .. or I put a request for postponement on the record, to literally support an appeal to a board of review to allow the case to be reopened back down at the tribunal (lower level appeal authority) again.   

I myself will never claim I personally possess the skills I know are needed to be a good UI hearing rep, but I know my job as a coordinator included  the responsibility to protect the client's rights to due process right up to the hearing .. when I had to hand that job, along with the arguing facts part, off to the hearing rep .. during the hearing.

Suffice it say, when answering questions about unemployment for the Unemployment Benefits Blog I did focus a lot of my attention on encouraging people to not ignore, but take advantage of their rights to due process, both before and after the hearing, with the hope some would get this fundamental responsibility to themselves .. and  understand when/if being represented at a hearing might improve their odds of winning a hearing .. just as well as it often does for employers.


Should You Quit Your Job For Good Cause or Let'em Fire You For Something Other Than Misconduct?

I'm troubled by what employees tell me they chose to ignore, for the sake of protecting their job from a questionable reason to be terminated.  And all because an employer needs to the burden of proving work misconduct as cause,. when you're fired while you just need to think about how/if/ you can rebut (undermine) their ability to meet the standard of law of that burden.

I'm not suggesting I want to discourage an employee from quitting for good cause, but if you must quit your job .. know it's you who will need to meet the burden to prove the fault for you leaving your job .. was attributable to your employer.

You should try using the search bar, if your question relates to who has the burden in a voluntary quit, in lieu of being discharged case.


Unemployment Eligibility Rules

Ask questions abour your ability to collect unemployment insurance benefits, and it's me who ends up asking questions, just to explain what I may think about your chances of collecting, or keeping unemployment benefits.

Unfortunately, sometimes the answer is due to those variances found in unemployment laws and/or regulations state to state.   

I'd show you a sample unemployment law comparison now, but all you need to do is click that link to find them all .. for you to review objectively .. depending on the state controlling your unemployment claim.


How You Can Safely Write an Unemployment Appeal Letter

If you have been denied unemployment benefits with the initial non-monetary claim determination, (findings usually state, "based upon the available information"), you can appeal this determination easily, whether you know if you can win, or not, by simply avoiding any argument that is made untenable by a state's unemployment law.

Many states acknowledge receipt of an appeal letter by sending the letter attached to the acknowledgement to both you and the employer.   Then they docket a lower level, aka tribunal unemployment hearing and a  notice of hearing is sent to all "interested parties" to the appeal.

I suggest  a simple stupid unemployment appeal letter  format to appeal a denial of unemployment benefits, because it's not wise to start arguing fact .. before a hearing .. which is meant to do just that .. argue to prove, or rebut what is, or isn't a fact .. relevant to cause for the separation.

Or, you can also read the Unemployment Appeal Q&As to find more on the subject. 


The Burden of Quitting a Job With Good Cause

If you voluntarily quit your job, know it's your right to do so, because you're an at-will employee. 

But when you apply for unemployment benefits, good cause to quit your job isn't easily proven by just saying so. but by supporting what you say with documentation to prove what you did as an employee, to first preserve your job and later, prove the good cause was fault .. reasonably attributable to being that of the employer..

To be honest, getting to the point of having evidence, sufficient to support your story of good cause to quit .. can be a challenge for employees.  Frequently, they are simply uncomfortable dealing with authorities at work, if good cause begins by confronting an employer in a professional manner .. to begin the process of documenting actions, or non-actions .. to establish facts .. that can go to good cause. 


Here's some Q&As About Good Cause to Quit a Job, including why it's important to find your nerve to at least attempt to correct some situation at work.


The Burden of Rebutting Why You Weren't Fired From a Job For Misconduct

Ever wonder why your boss may of tried to get you to quit, before firing you?  Let just call it what it is .. a strategy, whether by design or not, that helps employers avoid the burden of proving what made you guilty of work related misconduct.

Here's some Q&A About Being Fired and Rebutting The Burden to Collect Unemployment

Free Sample Unemployment Appeal Letter of an Initial Non-monetary Separation Claim Determination.

I see know reason why a person needs help appealing a monetary determination, but since many asked questions about the amount of their weekly unemployment benefits, base periods, partial benefit amounts, or payments such as severance, or pensions that may reduce that amount here are the Q&As about monetary entitlement to benefits.

But every monetary claim determination (the first one you receive), tells you what you're entitled to receive .. if you are found otherwise eligible to collect, based on the facts concerning the cause for your separation .. and to appeal this initial claim determination, here's a template to keep your appeal letter .. simple stupid, given I don't know, why you're appealing.

Here the Q&As About Unemployment Appeals


Do you know lower level unemployment appeal hearings, are used regularly by employers using the services of  TPA companies (third party administrators) because they really do provide unemployment insurance expertise that effectively reduces the claim experience rating system for determining what unemployment tax an employer will pay on the wages of it's current employees.

Do you know only employees in Alaska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, may be required to pay a minimal amount  of State unemployment tax? 

More Unemployment Questions and Answers

I'm sorry, I hindsight has taught me, I answered questions I shouldn't have answered .. because they became part of the Collect Unemployment Blog

Yet to be honest about unemployment issues, there's more to be concerned about than just quitting with, or being fired without good cause to include know what's suitable work, how school affects benefits, special VQ rules to affect temp employees and why an overpayment .. means repaying benefits.

It's safe to say .. there's a lot of Q&As that touched on one, or more conditional eligibility issue, claimants need to be aware of while they continue to collect benefits, or to protect their right to collect again, they should they accept a new suitable before exhausting benefits, at anytime between the BYB (benefit year begins) and BYE (benefit year ends) dates.

All the Q&As .. or at least most of them.

How Your Employee Rights In the Workplace May Affect Your Ability to Collect Unemployment

When applying for unemployment benefits, it can be easy to miss some of the questions may relate to whether you exercised an employee right .. you may of mentioned in explaining the final incident, or the cause of why you voluntarily quit, due to the fault of the employer.   

Unemployment Insurance Benefits are really an afterthought of an exception, to the idea adhered to in the U.S., which this employment attorney began to explain about the impact the doctrine of employment at will has on us all.

If you grasp that Unemployment Insurance was added to the mix in 1936 after the Great Depression, and the employee rights we've come to take for granted to day have literally become a counterweight against unemployment benefits and that extra weight for your arguments for benefits, lurk beneath the surface of a workplace culture, you can expose as fact better, while you're still an employee.

In any case, I know of at least one UI precedent decision that agreed there was no good cause to quit .. because the employee failed to exercise a right in the workplace first .. to show they tried to preserve their employment first. 


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