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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If I Lost My Job Through No Fault of My Own?

Why explain how to think about your ability to collect unemployment benefits?

Have you ever been in a position where not doing anything at all, felt like ignoring a nasty splinter?  Well, that's precisely what working for the business end of things, ended up doing for me.

Clearly, I know it's up to you, to tell an unemployment department your story, anyway you think best.

But, if you ask me about your ability to get, or keep collecting unemployment, let me just say now, I know it's the claimant, about to apply for unemployment, that should know how/if they can actively connect their story to a valid reason to argue why they lost a job through no fault of their own, so a state unemployment administrative law agency can struggle less, to interpret fault that connects to how UI laws are are intended to work.   

Best case scenario .. you begin the knowing, before you lose a job by understanding an unemployment claim comes with a burden of proof and that burden is correctly assigned to the moving party who needs to prove fault, aka good cause to quit a job, or guilt of work related willful misconduct when fired. 

The burden of proving fault means you're working to meet a standard of law, and for that, you're best off with a strategy, especially if you end up needing to win a lower level unemployment appeal hearing by arguing why you were denied unemployment benefits erroneously, or why you should be allowed to keep any unemployment benefits you received, if your employer appeals the initial non-monetary claim determination.

Chris -

Need Representation For an Unemployment Appeal Hearing?

The Unemployment Benefits Blog

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Fired From Your Job for a Reason Other Than Work Misconduct?

    Being fired and then having to fight for benefits, happens to employees who are not guilty of misconduct, but for some reason, denied unemployment when they receive the initial non-monetary claim determination.
    The problems employees encounter during the initial phase of the unemployment process can be many, but at the crux when getting fired from a job, many do not rebut the the employer's burden to use facts that can make a termination fall short of meeting the burden of proving their  guilt.
    Employees accept jobs everyday without accepting at will employment is a relationship, usually with a pre-nup called an employee handbook.  Most handbooks, open with an at-will employment disclaimer with the purpose of making you aware the employer's rules and policies, are in fact subject to being suspended because of the U.S. acceptance of a doctrine .. about the nature of employment at will.  
    Unemployment Insurance creates something of an exception to a relationship entered into at will, when it is severed by the employer .. or the employee who voluntarily quits a job.

And of course if you decide you want to argue with an employer, or a state agency, why you aren't guilty .. 

Q&As About Getting Fired for Misconduct

Can You Quit a Job With Good Cause, But Without Enough Proof to Collect Unemployment?

Yes .. it happens all the time that  employees who might of proven, they had good cause to quit their job to be denied unemployment benefits.

Frustration often lead to impulsiveness.  And that becomes the problem for employees when they finally learn they are the moving party who must prove the burden of good cause, which is just another way to say the fault can be quasi-legally attributable to the employer.

If you voluntarily quit your job and the employer said you have the right to file an unemployment claim, they might be letting out an inaudible sigh of relief, because they know what employees need to do, to prove why a voluntary quit was with good cause.

The basic tip I offer to prove your truth to be a credible fact at an unemployment appeal hearing is ..  Document, document, document actions taken by an employer and definitely, your efforts to preserve your employment before you quit.

Q&As About the Burden of Quitting a Job With Good Cause .. depending on the reason you ended the employment relationship.

Winning a First Level Unemployment Appeal Hearing

A lower level unemployment appeal hearing, may not sound as if it's a last opportunity to deny, or collect unemployment benefits .. in the overall unemployment process, but generally speaking it is, because a second level board appeal, is not what I would call a  second chance appeal.

Wondering how to write an appeal letter to an initial claim level denial of benefits for a tribunal (lower appeal hearing)?  It easy, compared to writing a written argument, i.e. legal brief to get some satisfaction from an Unemployment Insurance Board of Review.

Q&As about Unemployment Appeal Letters and Hearings

Winning Tribunal Unemployment Appeal Hearings

The tribunal unemployment appeal process, is generally your last chance to get, or keep your benefits.  

If you're looking for help writing an appeal letter to a denial of unemployment benefits,  here's my K.I.S.S unemployment appeal letter template.

Conditional Unemployment Eligibility Rules

Conditional Unemployment Eligibility Issues

Unemployment Insurance laws contain contains conditional eligibility issues.  These to can be of consequence  to a person's ability to collect unemployment. 

Take note, if a claim determination, or a hearing notice mentions anything about suitable work (SW) or being able and available to work (A&A). 

And read the claimant handbook from front to back, if you think you may need to learn about required job searches, or unemployment fraud, which as an issue often includes language to suggest a claimant may of misrepresented material facts in an effort to obtain benefits.

And last, but not least, I'm sticking a special voluntary quit provision, just for folks employed by a temporary staffing agency .. under conditional issues.

I have addressed all sorts of issues about getting and keeping unemployment benefits  over the years including somewhere around  4,000 free Q&A's appearing also on's  blog

The good news should be if someone like me can figure out how unemployment laws should work through these free resources, you may not need my services as a coach.

How Much Does Unemployment Pay?

Monetarily qualifying is based on wages found in a claim's base period and fortunately how much is based on formulas  .. subject to math rules.  After filing for unemployment it's important to file a continuing claim each week .. whether allowed, or just waiting for benefits to be approved.

  • When you certify you are owed benefits in any week you claim, you are doing so under penalty of perjury.  This is important to keep in mind when answering questions about you being able and available to work, that you complied with any requirements regarding your search for new work (keep a log for proof), or certifying you didn't refuse any offer of suitable work.  
  • You must report earnings for any week you claim you're owed benefits, while still certifying .. and don't wait to report until you get paid.  (Yes, unemployment departments can and do split this hair later when the dept. becomes aware an employer paid you).
  • Make sure you file a claim each week, you're fully, or partially unemployed, even while waiting to be approved, because if you don't file you can't be paid for that week.
  • File timely, or as instructed .. because timeliness is essentially another conditional eligibility rules .. while unemployed you need to be concerned enough to follow.

If all the above seems like a no-brainer to you .. that would seem a good thing to me.  But then again, if working as an unemployment hearing coordinator for employers taught me anything .. it's that merely assuming what someone tells you is true, or not .. doesn't mean it's been proven, or rebutted  to become a credible fact. 

Unemployment Insurance Benefits are Connected to How Administrative Law Agencies Regulate Laws to Work

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