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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If ....?

Can I collect unemployment benefits? 

Whatever you think the answer should be, the answer is about your unemployment claim.  And the answer is supposed to be specific to an issue regarding eligibility, or ineligibility based on facts connected to fault, for why an otherwise at-will employment relationship was ended .. by the moving party.   

At least this is one non-attorney's take on how the burden of proof can be made to work .. once both parties tell their full side of the story at an unemployment appeal hearing.

Can I collect unemployment? You betcha .. but since I'm no longer an employee, I don't worry about me anymore.

But this doesn't mean I'm not concerned about employees who think they quit their job for good cause, or get fired without it,, like when being fired, becomes politely termed a layoff .. due to a lack of work.

What can cause one person to be denied benefits, vs another who ends up receiving unemployment benefits after an unemployment appeal hearing, when their individual unemployment benefit stories sound so very similar?

Welcome to Unemployment Tips, because that was often, the unemployment question I was attempting to explain my answer to.

Unemployment Laws State By State

Unemployment law issues involving eligibility, or ineligibility are a small part of the statutes controlling unemployment insurance.  However, non-monetary eligibility issues usually have a corresponding disqualification.   

When disqualified on a non-monetary separation issue, it's likely you will need to serve, purge, or lift the DQ, unless you appeal.

DQs are just one thing about unemployment insurance, can vary widely state, by individual state unemployment laws

What else can knowing some unemployment law information do for you?

Well, if you're like me, you'll know why I think it's better to know the rules for a game before playing the game.  In my case that is specifically what I thought came in handy, when I thought my employer, an unemployment claim management company was going into overtime with their efforts I could only imagine were intended to find a way to move the game, to a first level unemployment appeal hearing.

Meeting, or Rebutting the Burden to Prove Fault

Unemployment Insurance is made to work when the moving party (the party that ended the employment relationship), is able to meet their burden of proof

The burden, for lack of a better way for me, a non-attorney to say this is claimants generally don't know, or at least sound like they know, they must meet a standard of law to effectively prove, or rebut to the context of the burden assigned to the moving party.  Which from my perspective at least, is why many unemployed people can end up denied unemployment benefits erroneously.

Good Cause to Quit a Job

It's quite possible you may of quit your job for a reason that may of been good cause.   But, you were still denied unemployment because you didn't know you would need to prove the reason you quit to have been with good cause. 

Aside from there being different standards about  what makes proof good enough for an unemployment department, during the initial determination phase, which includes the eligibility interview .. the standard is eligibility is based on the available information.

If an initial determination is appealed, the standard escalates to a preponderance of testimony and/or evidence and .. many people that quit, but appeal, still lack a full picture of what all they may need to prove at a lower level tribunal hearing to get, or keep benefits.

A little context about what you may need to prove after you quit, never hurt anyone .. especially employees who haven't quit their job yet.

Q&As About Quitting and Collecting Unemployment Benefits

My Employer Fired Me For Misconduct

You may of very well been fired from your job for a reason not misconduct, but it doesn't follow, that you won't be initially denied benefits after the initial eligibility adjudication interview .. when employers usually know what unemployment laws expect them to focus on proving.

When an employee is fired from their job, misconduct connected to the work is an employer's "good cause".   Logic would dictate then, this will be the position taken by your employer if you file a claim after being  fired for misconduct.

But logic also dictates most employees would know they have a duty to rebut what an employer needs to prove .. to deny their benefits. 

Questions About Unemployment

Want to learn more about proving, rebutting and arguing to show your unemployment story is the most credible story that fits within the confines of how unemployment is supposed to work?

Then you'll find a variety of Q&As on the  contact me page.

And for those who think it's wise to know who offered unemployment tips,  then you might want to read my employment /  unemployment story.

How Do Employees  Quit, Or Get Fired From a Job Through No Fault of Their Own and Still End Up Denied Unemployment Benefits?

If you left your job, by voluntarily quitting, or being discharged, the baseline you need to know when you begin thinking about how to collect, or not be denied benefits, is that fault is generally required to be attributed to the non-moving party, by the moving party that ended the relationship.. at least most of the time.

I'm like a broken record, when it comes to not failing to recognize who has the burden of proving fault and from the moment you apply for unemployment benefits.

But it is experience that sincerely forced me to believe people are denied unemployment everyday, for no other reason than they ignored the burden and context for proving fault at unemployment appeal hearings..

The point .. appealing to get unemployment, or to deny benefits .. comes with a responsibility, if anyone asks me, to evaluate if there are relevant facts connected to  unemployment law .. or some regulation that interprets a statute, to help you finally get on board the unemployment lifeboat .. or fall through a hole in the economic safety net .. UI has always been intended to be for those not at fault for the reason they quit .. or were fired.

Here's some Q&As about being aware of the burden of proof before, or after quitting a job for good cause, or being fired for something other than work misconduct.


Of course you also need context for what you're either trying to prove .. or rebut about the reason for eligibility, or a disqualification of unemployment benefits., is what can give us a better idea of what we should know.    

If you found your way here, because you began asking questions like how to write, or craft an unemployment letter to an initial determination, I have a sample appeal letter to an initial non-monetary denial of unemployment.

But here's the thing you can't afford to forget if you are initially allowed to collect unemployment benefits, one, or more of your base period employer may also have the right to appeal the fact you're receiving benefits.

Here's some Q&As about winning and losing unemployment appeals.

Quitting, or being fired from a job, are definitely the two most common issues of unemployment law I've been asked about over the years.

Of course I have other free questions about unemployment t

State Unemployment Laws Work Similarly, But Differently

Unemployment laws  basically work the same, state to state because Unemployment Insurance is a federally mandated program that acts as an economic safety net for each state .. and territory in this country.

But, there are wide guidelines for how each individual state writes, or implements it's own unemployment statutes, interpreted by the unemployment department that writes the regulations.

For example, someone denied Florida unemployment benefits because they voluntarily quit their job to follow a spouse to a new location, will likely be denied benefits correctly.  However, if the same happened to someone in Californi there are questions that need to be answered to know, if the California EDD got it right.

So, to explain there are variances in how unemployment laws work state to state, I use the Unemployment Insurance Law Comparison Chartbooks, (aptly named, don't you think).  But it is only one of free resources among other link I offer to state specific resources.

Unemployment Laws .. sometimes need explaining.

Unemployment Appeals:  How to Write a Letter When You're Initially Denied Unemployment Benefits

I'm often asked for my opinion on how I think someone should try to win an unemployment appeal hearing.

Problem is .. I'm often asked after someone has already lost the first, or lower level tribunal hearing.

Usually, those questions come after the initial denial of an unemployment claim, which is much better than those asked after losing a hearing.

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. Can You Quit Your Job and Collect Unemployment?

    Apr 13, 19 02:40 PM

    To quit your job and collect unemployment, you will also need to meet a thing called a burden of proof, so what do you do to meet it? Good question to ask before you quit!

    Read More

  2. Question about wording an unemployment claim denial appeal

    Mar 26, 19 10:03 AM

    Hello, My unemployment claim was denied a couple weeks ago for lack of good cause . I want to request an Appeal as I wholeheartedly believe it's an incorrect

    Read More

  3. Contact

    Mar 21, 19 05:31 PM

    Contact Chris with

    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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