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Is There a Right Time to Let Go of Unemployment Eligibility

by Chris -
(United States)

Sometime, depending on the person and circumstances, my advice must be to not let go of the fight. But sometimes the biggest fight of all is the one to remain conditionally eligible to collect the maximum number of weeks allowed in any given week you claim benefits, during the claim year.

I stress the need to document, because it not only allows us the ability to prove, or weight a relevant truth, but also gives every unemployed person their ability to maintain some measure of control in the event .. questions arise after allowed to collect.

For instance, most claimant handbooks say you should keep a written log of all your searches for a job. I would also advise emails that may be useful to prove when you were tricked or misled into accepting unsuitable work by a hiring employer who fudged, or just ignored telling you about those terms and conditions of employment that might clash with criteria for suitable work relevant to you as an individual.

I get it .. documenting as if you were an employer trying to prevent benefits, can be exhausting and literally a job in and of itself .. but it's better than whining after the fact .. that the unemployment department took an employer's word .. over your own.

In my case, initially, all I need to do was prove a simple fact with an email thread pertaining to the correct return to work date .. that I did get corrected.

But, process is a strange thing because even if documentation from both employers and employees literally lay open a chronological record of efforts to preserve a job, sometimes the process forgets, or ignores this is what must also be done to maintain, or question when conditional eligibility to collect benefits aren't being met.

I filed my unemployment claim after my doctor was finally able to release me back to work.. and I also applied for other jobs with the company at the branch manager's urging. But it didn't work out because of a hiring freeze.

But still, the process of responding to benefit an employer kept on rolling.

Two "informational letters" after I was initially
allowed benefits

Informational letters can be a valid tool to use for an employer, but when coming from a cost control company those suggestive letter can take one fact completely out of context and far away from the truth that an individual unemployed person need to keep an eye on, in case they need to prove .. something.

The letters sent on my claim were plausible conditional eligibility reasons that raised legitimate doubts.

1. First, it was suggested I wasn't able and available to work.

To be fair, the process might not of known .. since I was no longer it's employee by the time my doctor "officially" documented I was able and available to return to working, with minor short-term restrictions. But then the unemployment department didn't really need to know this either .. because I was laid off and only applied after I was able and available to return to work.

So, ya .. I had to prove it to them, but only because my former employer forced me to.

2. Next, my employer bluntly alleged, I had refused an offer of continuing suitable employment.

Frankly, I found this ploy to be offensive and a misrepresentation of a material fact by my employer.. because once again, I had emails and one proved the job offer was withdrawn because of a company wide hiring freeze.

However, as offended as I might of been by a process, or way of doing things without regard to the possibility of human damage being inflicted, a few months later my former employer offered me my old job back for six months, through a temporary staffing agency.

I knew I would not be sending an email to refuse this offer because, I also knew why that would make me no longer able to collect unemployment benefits legitimately .. when they sent another "informational letter" saying I had indeed refused an offer of suitable work.

The right time to give you eligibility to collect unemployment is when you're offered suitable work because hey, who in their right mind would rather collect even the maximum weekly benefit amount .. when you can actually go back to work and earn a living.

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