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About Me

Hi, my name is Chris.  I know how unemployment works because I worked as an at will, unemployment hearing coordinator, at least I did until 2009 when I finally decided I'd had enough .. of being anyone's employee.

To hold this job, it wasn't required I be an attorney of the unemployment law ilk.  However, because I worked at three, successive unemployment claim management companies, aiding other employers with their goal of getting a denial of unemployment benefits, as a means of controlling their individual employer unemployment claim experience .. tax rate.

Below, you'll find my own unemployment story, but for now, know that in my mind that story began in 2006 when I was laid off .. and didn't end, until 2009 when I voluntarily quit the same job as a hearing coordinator, that had been turned into a very long temp assignment.

When I finally quit the temp assignment with good cause attributable to the temp staffing agency, it was because I knew they had been the employer paying the UI tax on my wages, even if I had been doing exactly the same job, my former employer had eliminated in 2006.

If you want to tell your unemployment story, most are really just an employment story, told from hindsight and from a different perspective that should focus on how unemployment insurance works .. if you're objective enough to see how it may work for you.

Feel free to post your story   But full disclosure, it may end up on a public Unemployment Benefits Blog if I choose to publish it.   

Whatever you may think about your story being public, know I agree, if you think it's better to be anonymous (but still include the liable state controlling unemployment) than airing a story on  my facebook page, where anonymity isn't an option .. and a story can be bad for anyone, in the process of looking for a new job.   

So, with your anonymity in mind, I suggest to those who do submit a story, or ask a question in the form of a comment post a question, to not use your real full name, or put your email and phone number in the story.  

Of course you may also use the private option .. my general email form.  If you ask I might even respond with my phone number .. so we can talk about unemployment matters.

A Common Unemployment Story Doesn't Mean It Won't Feel Unique .. For Yourself

It took me a while to get over how I felt personally, about my former employer using tactics I thought were beneath my own knowledge about unemployment insurance. Although I was laid off (position eliminated), I clearly knew what I should be ready for .. just in case.   

However, the personal conflict I felt, was the hurt of being disrespected, when I, and my employer knew I was good at my job as hearing coordinator.  

Eventually,  I came to terms with being relegated to just another unemployed line item on an unemployment charge statement.

So .. here's go my unemployment story .. including some of the tactics, I know can be used, to not play fair .. or put ruts in what should be a level playing field.

Suffice it to say the phone call, from the branch manager at the unemployment cost control company I worked at, gave me pause enough, that I felt compelled to immediately confirm I had my RTW (return to work) date, found on my FMLA paperwork, correct in my own head. 

I found the date easily on the FMLA paperwork, that had arrived while I was still in the hospital.  The date confirmed I had a reason to worry about unemployment benefits .. before I was even ready to apply for benefits.

That it was different from the date my doctor had scheduled the first appointment, for after the layoff date, to see if I was able to go back to work was troubling.

I knew why employees out on medical leaves of absence could very well be correctly denied unemployment benefits, if an employer knew to raise the issue of voluntary quit, which forces the claimant to meet the burden of proof they hadn't quit by simply failing to return from a leave of absence.

Because I knew I was being set up to be the moving party, I knew I needed to create a paper trail of evidence, that showed I had tried to preserve my job. 

Since the burden was on me to communicate my concerns with that date, to my employer, I knew what I had to  do to prove my communications was document, document, document my efforts to correct the date until after my doctor returned from his European vacation.  (Yes, I tried to move my appointment up.)

In the end, it took two weeks worth of emails with a very stubborn FMLA claim rep working at that type of claim management company to fix the erroneous date she had put in my FMLA claim paperwork .. that did not jibe with what my doctor had put on the form he provided to them. 

Moving forward, of course I was also concerned with cutting off all the foreseeable potential arguments my employer could make to stop the payment of benefits, the first of which was I knew I could of been deemed a voluntary quit without good cause for failing to return from an FMLA if I didn't get the date changed, or I couldn't get my doctor to fill out another form that would support a request for an extension of my FMLA protected medical leave.

Shortly after my official laid off date and I was finally deemed able and available to return to work by my doctor,  I applied for unemployment benefits and began collecting benefits because it was a legitimate "lack of work" (LW) claim .. confirmed by my former employer, with their initial response to the notice of the claim I had filed against their SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Account).

But, if I learned anything about using the unemployment process, it was it's not wise for a claimant to let their guard down, not even after intially being approved to receive benefits.

My former employer then emailed me (when to document is a strategic choice) to ask me to come in to apply for open positions .. now that I they knew I was A&A (able and available)  I did apply for other jobs, but mostly because I noticed they saw fit to document they had extended the potential of a possible job offer, albeit not a bona fide offer.  

Because I was well aware of how employers can use conditional eligibility issues such as suggesting a refusal of suitable work .. I interviewed for several open jobs in others aside from the appeal dept.  They offered me a job as an unemployment tax auditor.  Although I cringed at the prospect of spending the rest of my life reviewing employer charge statements), I accepted.

So, I won't explain the sigh of relief I let out after I received another "call" from the branch manager, to apologize for having to withdraw the job offer .. due to a company wide hiring freeze. 

Of course being a slightly obsessive/compulsive documenter of facts, I sent an email to document and confirm with the branch manager the job offer had been withdrawn .. and why.

My email came in handy a few weeks later to make quick work of helping the unemployment department resolve an eligibility issue that had been raised on my claim.  I knew it was likely my employer, known to make use of a letter called and "INFORMATIONAL LETTER".

Couple months later the same issue, refusing an offer of suitable work, became my issue.

My former employer had called me to come back to my old job as a hearing coordinator as a temp employee, although they had permanently eliminated that position when they laid me off.

To add insult, to injury via their attempts to damage my claim, they wanted me back as an employee of a temporary staffing agency who was also their client and one who's hearings I'd coordinated .. and helped train me to not trust temp staffing agencies.

The six months, they thought I'd be needed as a temp, turned into almost three more years, thanks to a mega recession. 

I'd been practicing how to build a website as Chris - Unemployment-Tips.com since right before I went back to work.  And I continued being Chris at night.

Finally, in 2009 I  decided to voluntarily quit my temp assignment.   I was pretty sure I could prove I'd done so with good cause and in fact, that's what the initial non-monetary claim determination found.

It wouldn't be an understatement to say I felt relieved when I quit that job that had gone from being responsible for coordinating 50-80 appeals a week to 300 - 400 a week in 2009. 

But that relief paled in comparison to how I felt when I finally read the order from the UI Board of Review, that dismissed the temp agency's appeal (written by their client, my former UI cost control employer.  

Once my right to unemployment benefits were affirmed by the board .. 

I knew I was personally over the whole idea of ever needing to collect unemployment benefits for myself.

So it was in 2009, with eight weeks of the initial 26 weeks of benefits left, I turned my back on the remaining claim balance, and the  potential of collecting the unprecedented long term extensions benefits people were getting at time.

I knew I would likely need to develop multiple streams of income, but the first one I knew I had to work on was by finding professional, qualified unemployment hearing representatives  who wouldn't write a claimant off as a viable client with an argument to make about who was really at fault .. for them being unemployed.

Work in Progress  .. A Potential Newsletter

In the eleven years I've been active on this website unemployment benefits, I've never attempted to write a newsletter, but you never know...

Maybe you have a story, a question, or a valuable tip about unemployment .. or employment, you'd like to offer freely too.

Employment and Unemployment Stories

In 2008 I began answering questions about unemployment benefits. I believe I was consistent in pointing out that how unemployment may work against an unemployed person fired for something other than misconduct, or who quit with good cause they couldn't prove, was because I know eligibility can hinge on the fact the unemployment department looks back in time, to find both facts and inconsistencies told in two versions of the same story, as told by the claimant and employer.

Documenting to prove the truth of story to be the credible fact, at a later date, is how many employers manage to win unemployment appeals that may of otherwise been winnable for a claimant .. had they only known what, and when to document something .. to relate to the burden of proof controlling unemployment benefit eligibility.

Unfortunately, an approximated seventy-five, out of a hundred unemployed people can expect to lose their unemployment appeal hearing, including the not often considered reason why I think self represented claimants lose potentially winnable appeal hearings.

Fact is, most claimants simply lack the same level of working experience at hearings, as the hearing representatives had that I once hired to represent every employer's best interests .. every time I had to coordinate a hearing.

If you have a story about a job, or an experience with unemployment benefits to share below, please know I advise anonymity should you share .. for very good reason.

Any questions? If so, ask here.

Chris

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