How to Collect Unemployment Benefits

How to collect unemployment benefits? It's a common question that is all about an individual's. unemployment eligibility.   I thought I could help at least one person to get a better idea of how a state unemployment administrative law agency looks for reasons to find them eligible 2006, considering I had time on my hands after being laid off while on FMLA, from my job as a unemployment hearing coordinator. 

After all, what employee couldn't use a more realistic perspective, how, when and why people end up being denied unemployment benefits .. erroneously .. whether at the initial claim determination phase, or at a lower level unemployment appeal hearing.


Wrap Your Head Around the Burden to Collect Unemployment Benefits

The question is whether the moving party (the party that ended an otherwise at-will employment relationship) had good cause to end the relationship.

Employees still voluntarily quit for a reason that may have potentially of been for good cause, but unemployment eligibility rules consider when we quit with good cause to the point we can meet the burden of proving fault as attributable to the employer.

Of course employees still get fired for reasons not misconduct, but often fail to  rebut their actions were something other than misconduct.

Which brings me to an important point about how unemployment works. When you quit, or get fired the burden of proving fault has already been assigned, but only matters if you file an unemployment claim.  This is why my opinion is it's best to know in advance of quitting, or being fired what it means to be assigned the often unwanted burden of having to prove fault.

Collecting, or denying unemployment benefits is not rocket science .. but  it is a quasi-legal state administrative law agency both you and your employer (who pays an unemployment tax to fund a state's program) both you and your former employer must deal with to collect, or deny benefits.

And each state has it's own unemployment laws and other rules to follow, which is the reason why unemployment benefits eligibility rules can vary by state, when each decides if it will allow, or deny benefits.

I do not want to raise the false expectation, that I think anyone could, or should receive unemployment benefits, but a flag that ignoring the rules each state must follow, is the starting place for finding your ability to win an unemployment hearing .. if that becomes necessary for you to collect unemployment benefits.  

Do you need to write an unemployment appeal letter .. that isn't self disqualifying, before you even get to a hearing to argue your heart out on principle?

Which brings me to another consideration.   Is it possible an unemployed person would fare better, more often if were coached, or just be represented, at a lower level unemployment appeal hearing?

All I know for certain about the answer to that question .. is when I had a job,  statistics bore out that employers won more often with a hearing rep .. so why wouldn't you?

To this end, here's a whole slew of free Q&As intended to help you determine if you have facts to argue with, to collect unemployment benefits .. regardless of who needs to appeal an initial non-monetary separation claim determination .. you, the employer and sometimes their UI cost control company.


Whether  you, or your former employer decides to fight an initial unemployment claim determination, the fight begins with an appeal letter requesting a hearing to FULLY explore facts that may not of been available .. at the initial non-monetary eligibility determination adjudication phase.

I believe with every fiber of my being it's better when you know how unemployment laws can work for you  before representing yourself at an administrative law hearing, aka a tribunal .. or the full fact finder hearing. 

Definitive answers to Unemployment Eligibility Questions are a rarity.   Mostly because winning unemployment appeal hearings, depend on whether you can meet, or rebut the relevant facts .. to a standard of law being applied, when you and/or your employer decides to argue about the cause being good, or not and related to  issues, found in all state unemployment laws .. that do in fact vary about what may, or may not be good cause .. enough.

When Applying for Unemployment Benefits You're Better Off if You Accept It's The Moving Party Who Must Prove Fault

I know why it's unsettling to lose a job through no fault of your own.  I also understand why being denied benefits erroneously can make you feel like throwing your hands in the air to give up.  

Yet, I don't understand why anyone would give up, at least, before learning a few very basic principles intended to make unemployment law work the way it's suppose to .. fairly and impartially.

A basic principle I had to accept long ago .. when I worked on behalf of thousands of employers,  is why it's important for even and employee, to grasp the standard of law, the moving party is supposed to meet, if they want to prove, or rebut the burden of proving fault, belongs to the non-moving party of an at-will employment relationship.

And who know, when you get that .. you may be up to finding out how State Unemployment Laws Are Supposed to Work .. including how unemployment law can vary widely state to state.


Unemployment Benefits When You Quit a Job

Many people try to collect unemployment benefits after quitting their job way to impulsively .. and that prevents most from developing a good quasi-legal argument that does more than present good cause .. but proves the fault was attributable to the employer. 

When benefits are initially allowed because the claimant was determined to of quit with good cause .. an employer often appeals .. because as we all should know by now  the myth, that you can only collect unemployment if you get fired,  is contradicted by every single state unemployment law

Did the claimant voluntary quit with, or without good cause attributable to the employer? 

Need more info about how employees might try to prove good cause to quit? 

Here's the Q&As.

Unemployment When Fired From a Job

The only good thing I can think of off the top of my head about being fired from a job, is the burden that proves why you should be held guilty of committing willful work related misconduct  fired, is not an expectation of an unemployed person .. unless the truth is the problem for you.

Question is .. as a claimant, what might you need to do, if anything, to rebut the employer's burden of proving misconduct.

Did the employer discharge the claimant for misconduct connected to the work, or for some other reason not misconduct?    I'm sure most people should know the answer, to this question .. when they remove the way they feel about losing their job.. from the equation.

Need more info about collecting unemployment if fired from a job? 

Here's those Q&A's

Unemployment Appeal Hearing Representation

Claimants losing unemployment appeal hearings they might of otherwise won, has always bothered me .. almost as much as the reason I think they lose winnable appeal hearings .. is they ignore the fact unemployment insurance is a quasi-legal form of law controlled by an unemployment department .. aka an administrative law agency.

I may not be able to keep you on track by being your personal hearing coordinator, but I can offer you a chance for  free case evaluation with a professional unemployment hearing rep .. the like of which I once contracted to represent employers.

Who knows,  after talking about your case, the hearing rep, may think you have a case that's winnable, therefore worth taking on .. provided you don't object to a flat fee for representation services at your hearing.

Need more info about what can go wrong .. or right with an Unemployment Appeal?  Here's some Q&As

Unemployment Laws:  Learn How They Vary State By State

Unemployment laws regarding eligibility, and/or being found ineligible, make up a relatively small portion of a state's statutes regarding Unemployment Insurance. What employees are often looking to learn, often come under a heading such as Disqualifications from Benefits.  And yes, please believe me when I tell you unemployment laws vary by state .. including what is, or is not considered disqualifying.

Individual state unemployment insurance programs were mandated by the federal government with the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935.  For those of you interested in history, Frances Perkins was the Secretary of Labor at that time.  Personally, I think she was a special woman of that time in our history, she was responsible for many of the employment laws, during her long tenure, that still provide our basic protections as at-will employees today.

Here's the links to Unemployment Laws and Other Free Resources to help you understand if, when and why you may be able to collect .. even if couldn't were you to of lost your job in another state.


Meeting, or Rebutting the Burden Focused On Proving Fault

Unemployment Insurance is made to work correctly when an unemployment appeal is necessary, by the fact it's, the moving party (the party that opted to end the employment relationship), is also able to meet for the first time, or sustain their burden of proof, the non-moving party was at fault for the cause of separation.

The burden, for lack of a better way to briefly  explain what I think unemployed claimants often miss, is that both proving, or rebutting proof, is done to a standard of law applied at unemployment hearings, and it's never a good idea to ignore the context for establishing good cause to end a job, whether that means good cause to quit, or be fired.

Learn more about the burden of proof to collect unemployment benefits.

To Quit a Job With Good Cause

It's possible to quit your job for a reason that is good cause, but still not be able to prove you had good cause.   When people voluntarily quit for good cause, they are frequently denied unemployment because they can't prove one or more element that not only shows how the fault was attributable to the work, or the employer, but that they first exhausted reasonable efforts to preserve their job.

Given the standard for being found eligible after the initial claim determination phase, is based on the available information obtained from both you and your former employer,  it may be worth your time to consider the burden of proof, should you need to make the argument at a first level unemployment hearing, whether you are allowed to collect unemployment, or are denied benefits erroneously in your own mind after the initial claim adjudication.

Q&As About Quitting and Collecting Unemployment Benefits

My Employer Fired Me For Misconduct

Okay, who thinks they were fired from a job for a reason that shouldn't be considered as being misconduct connected to the work? 

Here's an old definition for what work misconduct is, that still relevant today.

Well, as you might note, the good news about being fired is, you don't have to meet the burden of proving your actions were misconduct, nor do you need to help your employer prove the burden that is their's to prove.

But logic dictates, if you you don't need to help your employer prove any misconduct, you may still need to know what you should be trying to rebut.

Questions about Being Fired From a Job?

More Questions About Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Want to learn more about proving, rebutting, or arguing to show your unemployment story is the most credible story that fits within the confines of how unemployment is supposed to work?

Then you'll find a variety of Q&As on the  contact me page.

And for those who think it could be wise to know who is offering these unemployment tips and why, you may want to read my employment and unemployment story.

How Do Employees  Quit, Or Get Fired From a Job Through No Fault of Their Own and Still End Up Denied Unemployment Benefits?

If you left your job, by voluntarily quitting, or being discharged, the baseline you need to know when you begin thinking about how to collect, or not be denied benefits, is that fault is generally required to be attributed to the non-moving party, by the moving party that ended the relationship.. at least most of the time.

I'm like a broken record, when it comes to claimants failing to recognize who has the burden of proving fault, which I think is best known, from the moment you apply for unemployment benefits.

My experience, however, is what has sincerely forced me to explain because everyday I worked to coordinate hearings for employers, I was also banking on some claimants being responsible for why they would be denied unemployment.

Losing is what can happen if you, or even an employer, ignores the burden and the context of the story, someone is trying to prove who was really to blame at unemployment appeal hearings..

Appealing, to get unemployment, or to deny benefits .. comes with another burden if you ask me.  It's a personal responsibility to evaluate a story for the actual facts relevant to  the intent underlying unemployment law .. which is the opposite of ignorance creating fake holes in the economic safety net for someone to fall through .. because they didn't know to avoid the hole.


Unemployment Appeals:  How to Write a Letter When You're Initially Denied Unemployment Benefits

I'm often asked for my opinion on how I think someone should try to win an unemployment appeal hearing.

My answer is always the same about a claimant writing a letter to appeal an initial denial of unemployment benefits.  

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Or if you prefer, let me offer you something different.

A Referral to a Professional Unemployment Appeal Representative.

Unemployment appeal case referrals and passive ads are the primary two ways I earn money from this site .. You should learn more about that when you visit the Terms of Use of this website.

Unemployment Benefits Q&As

  1. Conflicts with Unemployment and School

    Jul 02, 19 10:33 PM

    Unemployment and school simultaneously, can pose a conflict with conditional eligibility rules of a state's unemployment laws

    Read More

  2. What does a disqualification exactly mean?

    Jun 23, 19 11:40 AM

    I took a few months off from my job of 6+ years last December, and returned to work in April, but only for 2 weeks due to slow business. I was told that

    Read More

  3. Employer lied/appealing/thoughts??

    Jun 22, 19 03:26 PM

    I was fired from a job that I held for 2 years. The supervisor told me to leave, and I did. I filed for unemployment benefits and just received a letter

    Read More


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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