The Trouble With Knowing How to Collect Unemployment Benefits

Reasonable employees can feel forced to make choices, to keep a job few of us would rather not have to make.  Yet, it's our ability to collect unemployment benefits after quitting, or being fired from a job, that often forces the perspective of hindsight on us, to see those choices we made at will when our choices, interact with how unemployment eligibility rules work .. especially if our eligibility to receive, or keep  unemployment benefits is the central issue at an unemployment appeal hearing, whether we, or our former employer filed for a lower level appeal authority full fact finder proceeding.


In 2006  I was laid off from my job as a hearing coordinator.   Because that was my job, I already knew why I still had to be concerned about my own ability to meet, or rebut the burden of proof should my employer, an unemployment cost control company decide to protest my benefits .. even if out of habit and without merit to protest.   

It was a good job experience to have, because it taught me before my last day of work what I needed to do to avoid being denied unemployment benefits erroneously,  or correctly.

I hope you'll find at least one free unemployment tip  that helps you understand your own unemployment eligibility issue before, or as soon as possible, in the aftermath of losing a job a job through no fault of your own.

And if not, let me draw your attention to what I learned about while I had that job.

Providing unemployment services, such as coaching, or professional representation at a first level unemployment appeal hearing because it really can improve your odds of winning a winnable unemployment hearing .. just as much  expertise helps employers win hearings .. when you really had an argument to make .. if you only knew how best to represent yourself.

 The Nut and Bolt of Unemployment Eligibility Rules

The burden of proof is assigned to either an employer, or an unemployed person.  What determine who gets this hot potato, is as simple as understanding which party made the choice to end an otherwise at-will employment relationship.  You either quit your job, or the employer fired you (a discharge by an employer includes a layoff causing a lack of work claim and a voluntary quit in lieu of discharge).

The burden behind the cause for separation is important to understand while you're still an employee, because after a job has been ended it's the moving party that is expected to satisfy the burden, via some level of credible explanation, or hard proof of why the fault was that of the non-moving party .. if you want to satisfy a state's particular version of general unemployment benefits eligibility rules and those related to reasons to disqualify someone from benefits.

To summarize the typical state unemployment claiming benefits process.

  • You apply to open an unemployment claim .. usually online.
  • Shortly after, you should receive the state's claimant handbook that explains important terms, conditions and rights you have if you are allowed to collect unemployment.
  • Then you should receive the initial monetary determination.  It may explain how your weekly benefit amount was calculated, or it may not, but this initial determination may also be appealed if you disagree with the amount.
  • Next comes the initial non-monetary determination, or the one that assigns fault for the cause of your separation, or tells you if the fault wasn't sufficient to satisfy the section of unemployment law cited.

Because Non-Monetary Eligibility Determinations are based on only the available information gathered by a state claim rep (adjudicator), you should know the available information should include that received from you and your former employer, but because employers are often too busy to participate in this initial fact finding process people often start receiving benefits they may not be able to sustain receipt of .. if the employer simply files an unemployment appeal.  

Because initial and even subsequent unemployment determinations are easily appealed by either party the one way a potentially eligible person should never lose an employer appealed for hearing .. is by default because they didn't think they needed to appear for a hearing.  

Questioning How Unemployment Works to Learn How to Make it Work For You

Welcome.  My name is Chris.  To be clear, any tips are not intended as legal advice

However, my experience, which was just coordinating unemployment appeals (and hiring an independent hearing representative) for employers in every state in this country, offered, offered the sound reasoning behind why my tips here should be for employees, instead of employers I knew often only got started fighting benefits, after an appeal was filed for them by the unemployment claim management company I worked for.

Let's discuss the concepts surrounding good cause.

And here's some  Q&As to reinforce some basic ideas that make unemployment benefits work for you .. or against the details surrounding the cause for a separation from an otherwise at-will employment relationship .. 


  1. Will my unemployment be denied due to leave of absence used during my time of employment?

    Aug 12, 19 04:42 PM

    Hello, I was fired for absenteeism due to a medical issue my mom is dealing with. I did need to have a stint placed, but I was granted a leave of absence

    Read More

  2. Convient store sale out

    Aug 12, 19 10:36 AM

    I live in NC and the convenient store I have worked for, for about 5 years is selling out. Do I have to accept the job offer by the other company, or

    Read More

Winning an Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Who in their right mind thinks about winning an unemployment appeal before ending a job, or applying for benefits, or participating in an initial unemployment eligibility interview, clueless as to what they're after, or writing an unemployment appeal letter that reads like a saga?

Anyone I come in contact with, and they asks me about their chances to collect .. that's who.

So, let me explain how to write an unemployment appeal letter because it can be really easy to screw that simple hearing request letter up, with something I'll just say now .. is an untenable argument, to appeal an initial unemployment claim determination about what cause your separation from an otherwise at-will employment relationship.

And if you think you might benefit .. here's some Q&As about unemployment appeals, hearings and second level Unemployment Insurance Board Appeals .. which are not second chances to redo what you got wrong at the first hearing.

Or, you may also want to request a free unemployment case evaluation with a professional Unemployment Appeal Hearing Representative (free at least, until you choose to engage their services, after the free case evaluation.)

Missing the Point  When Proving Why You Quit a Job With Good Cause

It feels unfortunate when I have to explain in an email, why I  think someone may of voluntarily quit their job for good cause, but also, what specifically makes me think they are facing an uphill battle to win an unemployment hearing scheduled because the employer appealed the initial determination.   

The fact is, unemployment eligibility rules and laws are not instructional.  at least not to  my way of thinking, but what would happen if all employees were made aware .. before they quit a job, of what they would be expected to prove to have good cause, after they quit and applied to collect unemployment benefits?  

Well, I have some thoughts about that too, in the  Q&As about Quitting a Job ....with more of what I hope for .. documented proof of the efforts you made .. to preserve your at-will .. employment relationship.


Being Fired for Something Other Than Misconduct

Rebutting why you were fired for something a reasonable person wouldn't consider as being  misconduct connected to the work, isn't necessarily focusing on what a good employee you were prior to the final incident causing an employer to terminate your employment

So  Here's a widely accepted definition of what work misconduct is, and what it is not.  I offer this definition, so you can focus on how you're going to rebut you were at fault in such a way to undermine the credibility of an employer's testimony and/or evidence to support why you were fired for nothing less than willful, intentional, or wanton disregard of the standards and behaviors and employer has the right to expect of an employee, to not harm an employer's best interests.

Here's  some Q&As About Getting Fired

Unemployment Appeal Hearings

Realistically, the first unemployment hearing is usually the last shot you, or an employer has to correct an erroneous claim determination.  I can't stress this enough, even if I might be able to refer you to a professional who will know if something happened at the first hearing, that can be used for a written argument to an Unemployment Insurance Board of Review (second level appeal).

Here's the Q&As About Unemployment Appeals  

Click here for a free initial case evaluation with a professional unemployment hearing rep.


Unemployment Benefits Blog

  1. Will my unemployment be denied due to leave of absence used during my time of employment?

    Aug 12, 19 04:42 PM

    Hello, I was fired for absenteeism due to a medical issue my mom is dealing with. I did need to have a stint placed, but I was granted a leave of absence

    Read More

  2. Convient store sale out

    Aug 12, 19 10:36 AM

    I live in NC and the convenient store I have worked for, for about 5 years is selling out. Do I have to accept the job offer by the other company, or

    Read More

  3. About

    Aug 04, 19 12:08 PM

    Answering questions about collecting unemployment benefits is how I dealt with being laid off .. and still having to fight for benefits

    Read More


How Employee Rights In the Workplace Can 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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