How to Collect Unemployment Benefits

Since 2007 I've been addressing questions about how to collect unemployment benefits.  And what I've used to do this is my job experience as an unemployment appeal hearing coordinator while an employee of a large unemployment claim management company. 

My goal has been to get employees to focus their energy on more clearly understanding what is meant by the phrase to "lose your job through no fault of your own"  because there are obstacles, to quitting a job with and for good cause, or being fired for something other than work related misconduct and rebutting why you aren't guilty.

But maybe the greatest obstacle of all, is not accepting the fact that someone is always assigned the  quasi-legal burden to prove relevant facts about why the non-moving party is the party at fault for the reason a job was ended.

Because my experience was coordinating lower level tribunal unemployment appeal hearings and an integral part of that job sourcing professional hearing representation for employers fighting unemployment benefits, I also offer, when state rules make it possible, referrals to professional hearing reps, to claimants as well.

DIYing Unemployment law .. did you ever think you might need to know as much about state unemployment eligibility rules, regs and the process to just apply for unemployment as an employers unemployment claim management company does .. to up the chances of denying those who might be found otherwise eligible .. had they only known how the rules work to lay fault?

About me ..  Chris - Unemployment-Tips.com

How to Contact me

More answers about how collecting unemployment benefits is supposed to work,  can be found below.


to  Be found eligible to collect unemployment Benefits

Answers about unemployment eligibility to collect unemployment benefits, generally come with a built-in counter argument as you might notice .. and more often it's the employer making it at a hearing.   

Some employers may fight all claims, but the fact is, they actually do pay both a mandated state and federal unemployment tax, based on all their covered employee wages. 

Those taxes have pretty much kept our antiquated, yet federally mandated state unemployment insurance programs viable .. at least until 2008 during the financial "crisis", since the mid 1936.

Why fight when you know you're wrong .. well I don't advise it for a claimant, but as I learned from coordinating the preparations for a hearing, a denial often happens only after a lower level UI administrative hearing has concluded and the hearing decision doesn't just just deny benefits, but can also cause an overpayment of benefits if the employer was the appellant.

Anyway, because I know what I know, my goal since 2007 has been to open the eyes of employees willing to look, because that's when and how unemployment insurance rules really work for, and against us .. while we're still an employee.    And since I never stopped being bothered by how many unemployed claimants I watched totally miss what could of been a winnable hearing  lose, whether trying to get, or retain the unemployment benefits after a hearing .. I'm still here in 2020.


Unemployment Benefits Blog

  1. Credit given, but no check issued

    Aug 24, 20 03:55 PM

    What does it mean when it says credit has been given for the weeks claimed but no check has been issued. Hi Angela, I've been asked this many times recently,

    Read More

  2. Anonymous

    Aug 24, 20 03:16 PM

    I have been on unemployment in Indiana and have had no issues for three months. Then I got sick with the covid virus and my employer was notified. They

    Read More

  3. Hey, I am preselling an online course on investing, will I lose my benefits?

    Jun 30, 20 05:55 PM

    Hey Chris, Wanted your advice. I am earning benefits right now and I decided to preselling an online course. It was a successful launch and it stands

    Read More

  4. Reporting weekly earnings with NJ PUA

    Jun 30, 20 05:15 PM

    Hello, I have been confused by question #7 when reporting earnings for NJ, PUA. I am independent contractor and receive a 1099. I submitted an invoice

    Read More

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

    Jun 13, 20 03:51 PM

    I have been trying to apply for un-employment insurance for 2 weeks now. Spending many hours on the phone only to hear all lines are busy and then I am

    Read More

  6. About Unemployment-tips.com

    May 28, 20 02:57 PM

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

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  7. Have collected 1 payment from my unemployment claim but now being denied due to unresolved work performance issue.

    May 23, 20 12:05 PM

    Am I eligible for benefits under these circumstances I was terminated and refused FMLA Paperwork by my supervisor after being diagnosed with a virus in

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  8. Unemployment Questions About Being Offered Work at Different Plant

    May 23, 20 11:39 AM

    I have been laid off due to coviid 19. I’ve been receiving unemployment. My work called last week letting me know I could come back to work, but at a different

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Benefits are All about an administrative law Burden of proof assigned to the moving party

If you quit your job, you're the moving party.  If your fired from your job your employer is the mover,  in either case, it is a burden to prove good cause to be the moving party.

In all states, your ability to collect unemployment when you quit, or get fired, is connected to whether you can prove, or rebut the burden of proof assigned to the moving party, to prove the non-moving party was at fault.   You should take this burden under consideration before you apply for unemployment to take advantage of the standard of law used during the initial claim adjudication resulting in a determination .. "based upon the available information" which may, or may not be changed by documentary evidence of good cause.

Should you, or an employer appeal an initial claim determination (initial meaning gatekeeper)m to get that initial finding changed, or modified, the standard of law to meet the burden, rises to a preponderance of the evidence and/or testimony presented at an appeal hearing, overshadowed by actual administrative rules of procedure (including rules about evidence and testimony).  This hearing is .. often held by phone in this country and the assumption is that all those participating in the hearing .. know the rules for the hearing.

Because unemployment appeal hearings can be an intimidating process, many claimants will lose hearings they might of otherwise won, if they had they only been represented by a professional unemployment hearing representative.

Hint:  If you've been denied unemployment, here's a sample unemployment appeal letter that won't help to self disqualify yourself. 


Unemployment Eligibility rules are applied to What Happened After  A job has ended

And this matters if employee/claimants are also expected to know that the easiest way to prove relevant facts .. is to document to prove while still an employee.

Documentation, if the document adds weight to an unemployment story with merits,  makes an argument more credible when it comes to the reason an employment relationship was ended.  Simply put, I know it's easier to know how to testify at a hearing and potentially win a hearing,  if you know what sort of things the moving party should want to prove .. even if you're the non-moving party who only has to rebut the facts the moving party is using to shift the fault to you.

I truly believe questions and even my own answers about collecting unemployment benefits could be improved, if you and I both know the basics of what an employee, or employer should be trying to prove to the unemployment department .

  • How to quit a job with good cause.   Sorry, no way can I ever agree with a widely stated myth, that an employee has to be fired, to have a snowball's chance of collecting unemployment.  However I will admit, the myth may be grounded in reality, that few who quit for potential good cause, are rarely able to prove it.
  • When collecting unemployment benefits, all unemployed people must meet conditional eligibility requirements to collect a benefit amount each week.  One conditional requirement for even those laid off for a lack of work,  is not refusing an offer of suitable work.  The criteria for suitable work  can also be used to understand what may constitute an offer of unsuitable employment.
  • Another conditional eligibility issue that is asked about when you certify each week .. under penalty of perjury, is if you were able and available to work.  In addition they also ask if you looked for work.  Since the A&A issue often becomes a problem  for those  attending school and / or job training through the unemployment department, it's good to know how your state treats this issue .. before you answer the question when certifying.
  • Monetary qualifying issues are generally subject to a specific state's unemployment benefit monetary formulas.  However, because the first initial claim determination you should receive on your claim is subject to more mistakes than the second, non-monetary about the cause for separation, I tried to answer questions related to how much unemployment should pay.

  • When you're an employee of a temp staffing agency.  It's a must know, that it's the temp agency that is your employer and not the temp agency's client many think of as their employer while working a temp assignment.  In addition, a large number of state unemployment laws have "special voluntary quit provisions" that apply specifically to only employees of temp staffing agencies.  Heads up .. it's not a claimant friendly provision that shifts the responsibility to an employee to notify their employer an assignment has ended .. and ask for another temp assignment.
  • I don't think everyone needs to know this, but when applying for unemployment, or while certifying for unemployment benefits weekly, or when restarting a claim, (such as many temp workers do), it's never a good idea to willingly, or mistakenly misrepresent a material fact, because even mistakes cause overpayment determinations, which of course can be appealed.  Although by that point in the unemployment process, you really should already know  what the difference might be in your state's overpayment recovery provisions for both fraud, and non-fraud overpayments.

How to win an unemployment appeal Hearing?

In the event you're here  to learn about unemployment appeal letters .. or how to win and not lose the first level unemployment appeal hearing, then good for you.   

The reason I know this stuff is because I had a job as a unemployment hearing coordinator, therefore, I put a lot of stock in knowing how to differentiate, why the standard of law used to initially determine fault based on the available information often fails, but the higher standard of law applied at hearings when proving, or rebutting relevant facts is used to set the record straight and make it more permanent, for either you, or an employer.

Because an unemployment  hearing's purpose is to fully explore facts, and/or evidence. with both a claimant and employer in attendance, it's advantageous to know what facts you may need to dip deeply into, or not.

How unemployment appeals and the hearing process works, isn't precisely a legal process,  but I'm here to tell you it is definitely one of those quasi-legal form of administrative law, that can cause those with winnable appeal hearings to wish  you had found Unemployment-Tips before you quit, or got fired, or at least known afterwards, why I offer referrals to professional hearing representatives 




To Know How Unemployment Works Allows you to Make Strategic Choices

Foresight, to see how unemployment benefits eligibility works, allows for employers to make strategic choices intended in part to aid them when they appeal to deny unemployment benefits, so why wouldn't advance knowledge of how unemployment really does work help an employee, or even a claimant, when it comes to avoiding being denied unemployment benefits erroneously, whether the issue is a quit, or a discharge?

To set the record straight, I don't think all unemployed people deserve to collect unemployment.

My perspective in a nutshell, is if you do quit, or get fired, you ought to already know, or be willing to learn on the fly, what your state unemployment process is, when determining whether you're eligible, or ineligible to receive benefits. 

Losing a job through no fault of your own, is not what makes you a victim, but you might become after you apply for unemployment benefits and it is assumed you took the trouble to learn some new expectations about your ability to meet, or rebut facts to a standard of law and you quasi-legally argue to the wrong burden of proof at the first administrative law hearing, where employer's are often represented against a claimant and are more than willing to take advantage of what you don't know about the basics of meeting, or rebutting a burden of proof.

How hearings often ended when I worked for a living, is why I believe it's important for  a claimant to educate themselves on how unemployment works and understand what may vary somewhat state to state due to those wide federal guidelines.

Therefore, don't avoid  peeking at the links to state unemployment laws and other, more helpful resources, if my opinion matters .. here.

If you think you have a provable, or rebuttable unemployment appeal, then please don't be afraid to check out my unemployment appeal representation referral program, but only if you are not opposed to paying a flat fee to improve your odds of winning an appeal filed by you .. or your employer.  If you have questions about your need to be represented .. contact me.


Unemployment Benefits Questions and Answers

To be clear, any tips are not intended as legal advice

Nonetheless, I think it's important to remain objective when discussing good cause .. meaning how the circumstances about your separation from a job .. relate to an eligibility issue listed on a hearing notice .. or an initial claim determination.

Here's the  Q&As  if you're looking for reinforcement of some basic idea I thought could help unemployment benefits work, or some arguments as to why certain details surrounding a voluntary quit, or discharge, from an otherwise at-will employment relationship, may not play well with rules concerning eligibility and fault to end things .. including viability of an unemployment claim.

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?

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

So, let me explain how to write an unemployment appeal letter because I've read some where the claimant, or employer managed to screw what should be a simple, minimal request for a lower level appeal authority hearing up, to the point their entire reason for appeal becomes untenable.

And if you think you might benefit from professional representation at a hearing, or coaching previous to any need for that, I may be able to help with that.  Click here to learn more about unemployment representation.

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.

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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