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

If you become unemployed, you quit your job,  or get fired from a job, for a reason other than a lack of work (being laid off), then  it is only applying to collect unemployment benefits that prompts a State Unemployment Administrative Law Agency to get involved and ask questions.  The question they ask are designed  to help the neutral state UI agency, determine who was at fault, the moving, or non-moving party, when the at-will employment relationship was ended. 

The thing about any process though .. is it doesn't always work as it's intended to work, fairly and impartially, especially if you don't know how to work the process to your own advantage.

With this in mind, I hope the free information about collecting unemployment benefits will be some encouragement for you to speak to the truth, as long as it is strategically connected to the issue that needs to be resolved for you to receive benefits after it is initially adjudicated by a claim interviewer.   Ideally, an unemployment office should contact you within thirty days after you file the claim and  be interested in uncovering facts connected to a specific quasi-legal burden of proving fault.   The burden is assigned to the moving party. 

More about the Burdens of Proof here.

It's a good to know, so you can be objective, at least about your own ability to collect benefits and vs. the common mistake of those I think lost lost their job through no fault of their own, but still denied unemployment benefits because they focused on how they felt about losing their job instead of using the initial claim process, or the first level unemployment appeal process, to exploit any advantage I might see, but found in a state's unemployment laws .. or regulations.


Recent Articles

  1. I was sexually harassed and quit my job. Can I recieve unemployment?

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  3. How do I talk to a live unemployment agent on the phone in New Jersey?

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Unemployment Tips, Laws and  .. the Free Advice

Unemployment Tips  .. there's a lot, and I mean a lot, of questions about unemployment benefits to be found here.  All appeared on the blog, at one time, or another.

Make no mistake, I'm the responsible party for all of the free advice .. just in case you might want to appreciate a tip, or blast me for not being that empathetic pushover you're looking for to agree with you.

In short, before you dig in, know that I'm not a lawyer, therefore nothing is intended, or represented as being legal advice

However, I was also a non-attorney employee, and I evaluated thousands of unemployment claims when someone appealed and I received the notice for an unemployment appeal hearing on my desk.  Which, of course prompted me to do what was within my power, to ensure the employer got the best shot at a denial, whether I agreed or believed in the case, or not .. long before a website of my own, became a twinkle in my eye.

Is there a way for you to collect, or be denied unemployment benefits .. that is the question.   And all I can tell you for certain, is foresight can helps us avoid mistakes to not make the necessary effort to make unemployment work better for ourselves,  than playing this game with hindsight, only to learn she/he is a hard ass who doesn't care if you knew nothing going in. 

An initial non-monetary claim determination is based only on the available information and because of that word "available", it can be wrong (erroneous) and therefore an appeal of an initial non-monetary separation determination may be just the thing to get a first level unemployment hearing .. aka the only FULL FACT FINDER claimants, or employers usually get to change the initial determination.


If at any point you believe a Professional Unemployment Hearing Representative, or  Coach might improve your odds of winning .. be sure and let me know.


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. I was sexually harassed and quit my job. Can I recieve unemployment?

    May 20, 18 02:42 PM

    I started working for a 3rd party marketing firm. I was the only female in an office of 7 people. My job requires traveling for about a week at a time

    Read More

  2. Too Far to Work?

    Mar 05, 18 02:58 PM

    I live in Youngstown, Ohio. In 2008, I worked for a company through November and was laid off when the local office was closed. I received unemployment

    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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