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

Employees become unemployed by no fault of their own every day, yet not all who might, will be allowed to collect unemployment benefits at the initial claim adjudication level.   

Questions about getting unemployment insurance benefits for me at least, force me to ask questions specific to whether an initial claim level denial of unemployment benefits might be erroneous and therefore, worth appealing a denial of unemployment benefits.  Unemployment appeals are the only way I know of to correct an initial monetary, or non-monetary claim determination already issued. 

Do you want to  appeal, so you can fight for benefits at a lower level tribunal unemployment hearing .. but with a better idea of what you need to fight about?

Whether a person is initially allowed, or denied benefits, I've tried to explain how unemployment insurance works, from the reality that taught me how it works and why I know for a fact an unemployed person isn't the only party who writes appeal letter with the intent of reversing an initial claim determination

Everyone's unemployment benefits are subjected to the scrutiny found in a burden of proof (to meet a standard of law) regarding the fault for the cause (the reason) for a job separation.   

This burden is your's to prove .. even if you voluntary quit for a good cause reason, just like it's the employer's burden to prove you were guilty of  misconduct if you were instead fired from your job. 

Along the way, while discussing the disconnect between having good cause .. and proving it, I might of also felt there was need to pay attention to some conditional eligibility problems, generally avoidable by thoroughly reading the unemployed claimant handbook sent by states after you apply for unemployment benefits.

Recent Q&As

  1. If my employer didn't show up for the unemployment appeal hearing will I win?

    Aug 11, 18 12:34 PM

    Hi there, I just had my appeal hearing today and my employer didn't show up. But they wrote a letter. Do I automatically win because the judge still

    Read More

  2. Liz was amazing; and we WON

    Jul 31, 18 04:34 PM

    Chris referred me to Liz. Liz helped me prep for my unemployment hearing, and also represented me at the hearing. She was terrific from start to finish,

    Read More

  3. A few thing that can happen when your employer has appealed to the board of review

    Jun 13, 18 10:57 AM

    I am going through an appeal review next week. My case is in the state of NV. What can I expect if I lose my unemployment benefits? This is the second

    Read More

Unemployment Insurance benefits and the issues both you and a former employer face at unemployment hearings are controlled by a state's UI  administrative law, sometimes referred to by states as an Employment Security Act.  So know if the issue(s) in front of you has special conditions when a hearing officer administers only one state's unemployment laws which are interpreted by regulations .. quasi-legally by a state unemployment agency.

I hope the free information about unemployment benefits helps, but my best tips for winning an unemployment appeal hearing on the merits of the argument you make .. is to find a professional to represent you at a lower level tribunal appeal hearing.

Unemployment Tips Services

Hi, my name is Chris. I've shared tips about unemployment insurance benefits based on a sort of  unique job experience. I helped employers prepare for lower level unemployment appeal hearings by coordinating the things that went into winning an appeal.

One of the first duties of that job, was to contract a professional non-attorney hearing rep (most states allow non-attorneys to practice unemployment law)  who won a hearing for the employer 75 percent of the time .. on average.

Representation, vs. going it alone pro se, when you have a winnable case, gives you an edge you need, such as with a hearing rep's skills and ability argue why you should  to win a tribunal unemployment hearing per use of UI laws and those regulations, or interpretation you might not yet know, you too can use to your advantage.  

 Unemployment-Tips Hearing Rep Referral Service has worked for claimants in 28 states, beginning in 2009 when I voluntarily stopped collecting benefits, just to offer referrals .. I might get paid for.

I promise I only refer appeal cases to someone I know is highly qualified (menaing years of experience) to professionally represent you at your hearing.  And they still have win/loss ratio about three times better than the typical pro se unemployed person who wins approximately 25 percent of the time

As for the other 22 states, I am willing to explain to you why your state's rules about hearings won't allow me to send you to a professional for assistance, if you contact me and ask that question.

Did You Apply for Unemployment Benefits .. Like You Knew How to Play This Particular Blame Game?

When applying for unemployment benefits, it is literally you, the employee/claimant who is opting  to initiate your right to collect unemployment.  Unemployment Insurance, however, is basically an exception to the typical at-will employment relationship in the U.S.  Meaning we accept and enter into a job at will, and know it can be ended at will, by us for any reason, or by an employer for any reason, even those not considered good cause .. as long as the reason isn't proven to be illegal.


Unemployment Tips, Laws and  .. the Free Advice

Unemployment Tips  .. well there's a lot, and I mean a lot, of questions about how to collect unemployment benefits.  All appeared on the blog, at one time, or another beginning in 2008, since I thought it would be a good way to expose what I thought the flip side of any argument might be up to.   I know for a fact there are many employers who rely on companies, such as I once worked for who are experts in using unemployment laws and rules of procedure at hearings to deny benefits .. whether the fight against benefits, is for the right, or wrong reason, or just indifference if they believe the claimant won't know how to argue.

I am solely responsible for all of the free advice .. just in case you decide to appreciate a pro's services, or a free tip I may of offered over the last twelve years.

Before you dig in, please know I'm not a lawyer, therefore nothing is intended, or represented as being legal advice

However, I was a non-attorney employee, and I evaluated thousands of unemployment claims as a UI hearing coordinator. long before the idea of a website of my own, became a twinkle in my eye and I was laid off and decided to explain for the benefit of employees.

Is there a way for you to collect, or be denied unemployment benefits?  That is the question only the details and circumstances surrounding how and why you lost your job, can answer.  

I believe in the value of foresight, as it can inform us about how to avoid making quasi-legal mistakes of ignorance.  At minimum, I know it works better than playing this game with hindsight as your only teacher.

An initial non-monetary claim determination is based only on the available information and because of that word "available" an unemployment claim adjudicator can get the initial determination wrong (erroneous).    Therefore to preserve your right to fight and have a chance at changing the outcome to be favorable,  you must appeal any initial claim determination, just to get to a first level unemployment hearing .. aka the only FULL FACT FINDER claimants, or employers usually get to change the gatekeepers .. determination.

If at any point you think a Professional Unemployment Hearing Representative, or Preemptive Coaching might be  viable to help improve your situation .. be sure to ask me about my Unemployment Referral Service.


What's in a Burden of Proof?  A Valid Argument That Allows Someone the Possibility, to Keep, or Collect Unemployment Benefits .. After an Unemployment Appeal Hearing

So .. let me begin with what I begin to think about when I refer to a burden of proof.  What needs to be proven, or rebutted and is there a way forward to get the job done.


And on the same page where I link to the chartbooks, you may get luck and find the state controlling your unemployment claim has a precedent unemployment decision digest, or whatever else they might call the resources that disseminate how an unemployment agency has the privilege of writing regulations apply to whether you can collect, or be denied unemployment  benefits.  Maybe if all states told us how they interpret their own unemployment laws, aka Employment Security Acts, you know you're expected to argue quasi-legally, to an administrative law agency

Please note, the legal disclaimer

And for those wanting assistance, I can refer appeal cases to professional UI appeal representatives, for a number of State Lower Level Hearings and written arguments to an Unemployment Insurance Board of Review.

The Unemployment Benefits Blog - Asked and Answered

Over the years I answered thousands of Q&As about unemployment insurance benefits, basically because I attached a blog to Unemployment-Tips.com.

I still consider new question though when contacted, on the condition,  if I think the issue you raise could be useful for a new blog post.  I will of course, ask for your permission first, as well as strip all personally identifying information, save the name of the state in question.  If you appreciate my answer, great, I appreciate honest testimonials.   If you feel inclined, however, to call me an awful expletive .. in a comment to an answer you found among the thousands .. please move on because I finally reached an age when feeling guilty is counterproductive to my own best interest.

Looking for questions with discussion about proving a voluntary quit is with good cause, such as when proving fault as being attributable to the employer?

How about questions about being fired from a job, and it's your employer who has to prove your termination was for misconduct?

Orienting yourself to knowing who is assigned the burden to prove fault, is basic folks, at least if you want  to how unemployment benefits can work, or why they don't work out.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Q&As

  1. If my employer didn't show up for the unemployment appeal hearing will I win?

    Aug 11, 18 12:34 PM

    Hi there, I just had my appeal hearing today and my employer didn't show up. But they wrote a letter. Do I automatically win because the judge still

    Read More

  2. Liz was amazing; and we WON

    Jul 31, 18 04:34 PM

    Chris referred me to Liz. Liz helped me prep for my unemployment hearing, and also represented me at the hearing. She was terrific from start to finish,

    Read More


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

´╗┐Being fired and then having to fight to get unemployment benefits, can happen to any employee, even when I don't think you're guilty of misconduct.   

Yet being denied unemployment with the initial non-monetary claim determination is often enough of a deterrent that it stops people in their tracks and convinces them it's not worth a simple appeal letter to get a lower level tribunal hearing.

Lower level unemployment hearings are called FULL fact finder hearings for a reason.  The point of a hearing is to fully explore if there really was  Willful Work Misconduct when testimony and/or evidence is allowed to go beyond only the "available information" used to initially determine if you get benefits.

Once you know the definition of work misconduct, you may be ready for some Q&As About Being Fired for Misconduct .. or not.

To Quit a Job and Then Prove You Had Good Cause

Yes, people quit their job for reasons I know have potential of being found as good cause, but they are still denied unemployment benefits because they didn't pay enough attention to their own burden of proving fault as being reasonably, attributable to the employer.

Don't allow yourself to be misled by the employer when you quit.  They may think it's best for you to voluntarily quit before you can give any thought to how you will later meet unemployment insurance's burden of proof. 

If you detect a sigh of relief,  it may be that boss, or HR person knows you have nothing to help you meet the  of why you voluntary quit with good cause.

How about a ton of Q&As About Quitting a Job With, or Without Good Cause

Why You May Need to Win a Lower Level Unemployment Appeal Hearing

A lower level unemployment appeal hearing, doesn't sound as if it's the last opportunity to deny, or collect unemployment benefits .. but if you know the unemployment process .. because it's burnt into your brain from repeating it thousands of time, the first hearing is generally speaking, your last chance to get, or keep benefits .. because the second level, or higher appeal authority of an unemployment insurance board of review appeal, will by no means, ever be called the second chance appeal .. by me.

Wondering how to write an appeal letter to an initial claim level denial of benefits to get a tribunal (lower appeal hearing)? 

It easy, compared to writing a written argument, i.e. legal brief for an Unemployment Insurance Board of Review to review the record of the first hearing.

And yup, I've got Q&As about Unemployment Appeal Letters and Hearings too.

Don't Forget About the Conditional Unemployment Eligibility Rules

Conditional Unemployment Eligibility .. What's that?

Unemployment Insurance laws explain how you must maintain conditional eligibility to collect unemployment.  Regardless of fault surrounding a separation issue I often detected a conditional eligibility issue when someone asked about quitting, or being terminated, because no matter the type of issue on appeal, conditional eligibility problems can create an overpayment of benefits .. for even those who did lose their job through no fault of their own.

So .. what is suitable work (SW) for you?  Do you know when you can .. and may need to refuse an offer of work an employer thinks is suitable to you?  Well, a decision is made easier if you understand what criteria makes jobs that may be almost suitable .. still unsuitable enough for you to refuse ..  in the eyes of the unemployment department.

And then there's the conditional issue of not being able and available to work (A&A).   It's just one more condition an unemployed person must certify, under penalty of perjury, they are meeting each week, to collect.   A&A can be a problem for those separated due to health problems even if found not at fault for the cause of separation .. at least until they are able to provide medical documentation that releases them to go back to work, even if the work must meet with medical restrictions.

Being able and available to work can also become an issue for those going to school, or training while collecting benefits. 

You may find the  Q&As About Collecting and Going to School useful.


How Much Does Unemployment Pay?

I've saved the first step in the unemployment process for last .. because monetarily qualifying for unemployment benefits is based on math formulas, which isn't something I worked on .. but nonetheless, I was able to figure it out for myself .. and some others when they asked questions about monetary issues.

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

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