How Unemployment Works: Twenty-six Percent Of The Total Unemployed Received Unemployment Benefits In 2011

How unemployment works at the claims level is always the same, but the results will depend on your viewpoint

The result of being under-informed about how to collect unemployment benefits when you quit or get fired .. or show is that getting unemployment is legalistic from the start .. the moment you submit your application for benefits.

Unemployment is administrative law. Or you can call it quasi legal if you like.

When the claims process doesn't manage to stop a person from collecting benefits .. they then have to look forward to another set of intentionally downplayed roadblocks in the unemployment appeal process.

If employers rely on private businesses acting as a third party responding to all the claims filed against the employers state unemployment tax account.

Why can't you have a third party file your claim for you. Well, maybe .. you've just not dug deep enough into the law to find the loophole to do this.

The point is, the less you know about how unemployment works, the greater the chance you will fail to get unemployment benefits.

What you don't say to the unemployment department can be as important as what you do say.

And you have to speak for yourself during the investigative phone interview.

Where I came from which is an industry called unemployment cost control, adjudicator calls are handled by a claims specialist speaking on behalf of an employer client.

When you're emotional and raw because you just lost your only source of income because of one possible reason out of a myriad of reasons .. you're simply not in the right frame to focus on the quasi legal stuff.

Who's there to stop you from speaking out loud the wrong things that can be used to deny your benefits?

This isn't about be untruthful .. it's about being focused on the law instead of your emotional involvement.


How the Unemployment Claims Process Works

So you can know how unemployment works I'm starting with how unemployment claims are processed.

It's always better to know anything about unemployment before you quit your job, before you get fired from your job and definitely, before you apply for unemployment.

Each phase of the unemployment process is littered with legal terms and words. The same kind used in real court, such as ahem, traffic court.

Who among you have beat a traffic ticket once you got to traffic court? Not many is my guess. It's because speed limits are posted and we all know the importance of the signs because we had to take a test to get the driver's license.

You might be the smart cookie type though and got off because you took a photo of the tree which obscured the sign on the day you were pulled over for speeding.

However, the potential financial damage from a fine for speeding will pale in comparison to the loss of your weekly benefit amount for twenty six weeks.

The stakes to get this unemployment thing right .. right out of the gate is high and unemployed or not .. it's not a time to cut corners if someone is asking for a small fee to assist you before your job ends to help you prepare for the unemployment process.

Wise preparation to get unemployment begins while you're still a responsible employee.




How Unemployment Works During The Claims Process

I mentally divide the unemployment department into three phases.

The claims process, the appeals process and the board appeal process. I'll start with the assumption applying for unemployment benefits is a done deal for you.

You have probably received the first of two initial determinations that anyone filing a claim must receive soon after applying for unemployment benefits. I've assumed this only because people usually go looking for answers about getting unemployment after the second determination.


Unemployment Benefit Determinations

When I use the word determination I'm referring to what the claims department issues and their initial fact finding process which usually entails a phone interview or questionnaire.

A decision is issued by an appeal hearing officer. The hearing is known also as a full fact finder with both all parties in attendance at the same time.

A board level appeal usually go in front of a three member panel to review hearings decisions and the arguments are usually presented in written form. Boards of Review generally, issue what is called an order.

This is the basic hierarchy of the unemployment department. Beyond the unemployment department, which is an administrative agency charged with interpreting the intent of a state's unemployment law .. is real court.


The monetary determination (sometimes called the benefits award letter) tells you which wages were used to determine your weekly benefit amount and it establishes your base period and your BYB (benefit year begins) and BYE (benefit year ends) dates. These will be different from the base period used to establish your WBA (weekly benefit amount) and is usually based on the type of formula your state chooses to use.

You have appeal rights attached to this monetary determination. Do not be afraid to appeal if something doesn't look right. All appeals must be submitted by a deadline to be valid.

Take a few moments to make sure the wages your employer reported to the state meshes with your paystubs or tax returns.

An appeal may boost that weekly amount a bit or call into question an employer's failure to pay unemployment taxes on the wages you were paid.

And state do make mistakes when qualifying people. At least, according to the BAM reports at the USDOL. (That's benefit accuracy measurements to the rest of us.).


The Non-monetary determination is when .. how unemployment works get a bit murky for most people.

It's the precursor to unemployment appeal hearings.

Although claimants never seem to think it will do any good to appeal a denial of benefits, employers see it as their opportunity to present additional testimony and evidence to reverse the initial finding of the claims department with the higher authority of the appeals section.

The non-monetary is not playing with numbers. It's all about who will be able to prove their story is the truest story.

This determination tells you yea or nay on receiving unemployment benefits and it always cites a section of unemployment law and usually a little reasoning for the reason they allowed or denied benefits.

The non monetary may also be referred to as the merit determination.

Nonetheless it comes after the dreaded investigative phone interview or after you return the questionnaire.

In VA and IA .. the phone interview may feel like an appeal hearing because both parties are invited to attend by phone a scheduled phone fact finder at the same time. These are not hearings. These states just do things differently.

No matter what, claims departments gather facts so they can issue an initial determination. That is something that can be compared to writing in wet cement.

A non-monetary determination will be made based upon the available information at whatever deadline they must.

The claims representative handling your case should have kept extensive notes about anything and everything they managed to gather during their investigation.

The two most common unemployment issues cited on a determination with the corresponding statute number are ..

You voluntarily quit your job with or without good cause or, fired for willful misconduct or other than misonduct.

Pretty straight forward so far ..

To keep the cement wet however, you must appeal by the deadline given on the determination for an appeal .. if not, you will have to show good cause for being late. Avoid an untimely appeal at all cost to keep moving straight forward and the need to whip out the jackhammer.

I'm working on finding qualified unemployment specialist that can help you through the claims investigation process .. as this is a much more proactive approach to getting benefits.

However getting benefits can't stop any employer found in your base period from filing an appeal when you are allowed unemployment benefits.

What do you think of how unemployment works so far.

Next stop .. Unemployment Appeals.





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