How to Collect Unemployment  and Win an Unemployment Appeal Hearing

How do I collect unemployment benefits?  It's the question I try to answer by drawing my experience coordinating unemployment appeal hearings for employers, regardless of who appealed an initial claim determination allowing, or denying benefits based on the available information.

In a nutshell, my advice about your ability to collect benefits is to focus on only the relevant facts surrounding the burden of the moving party to prove  they had good cause to quit their job, or  to rebut with reason, why you weren't fired for work related misconduct

I share my experience in the unemployment insurance field, because I don't enjoy questions about how someone was erroneously denied unemployment, after losing a winnable FIRST level unemployment appeal hearing.

To begin, here's my sample of unemployment appeal letter for anyone who doesn't already know how to not self disqualify, when appealing an erroneous initial claim determination, since the point of that request letter is to get the state to schedule an unemployment hearing, where you are full prepared to help the state unemployment department, fully explore the circumstances that caused the end of an otherwise at-will employment relationship.

understand That Unemployment Eligibility rules are applied to What Happened in the past

Understanding what makes an unemployment story sound as if there was good cause after the fact, is in fact easier to accomplish if you know before one loses a job through no fault of their own .. what has to be proven to a higher standard of law, at an unemployment appeal hearing.

I truly believe questions and answers about collecting unemployment benefits could be improved if you and I aligned and know the basic underlying principles and obstacles for the moving party, if they want to prove the fault for ending an employment relationship, was that of the non-moving party. 

  • How to quit a job with good cause.   Sorry, no way will I ever agree with the myth an employee has to be fired, to have a snowball's chance of collecting unemployment.  However, the myth may be grounded in reality, in that when some people quit a job, they aren't yet able to prove the burden of attributing fault for quitting, to the employer.
  • 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.

Unemployment Benefits Blog

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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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