Successful Unemployment Benefit Stories Often Begin with Managing the Credible Facts
(My Unemployment Story )
Managing the truth, to be recognized as credible facts at an unemployment appeal hearing, is not rocket science. But I also knew when I became unemployed what was relevant to how I could improve the odds that as a claimant, I would still be collecting, or more importantly, keeping spent benefits, after a lower level, aka tribunal unemployment hearing was concluded.
It's why I say .. document, document, document to prove the truth as also being a credible fact.
Writing is the best form of communication because you're actually creating a relevant paper trail to why you lost your job through no fault of their own.
After years of coordinating unemployment appeal hearings for employers, it was the results when a claimant lacked a paper trail and also knew it was evidence from a paper trail they created, that could of made the difference, merely because it's evidence that weights an unemployment story to become the more credible story finally accepted as fact at the end game .. which for all intent and purpose is the lower level tribunal hearing.
So, in 2006 when I was laid off on an FMLA leave and again in 2009 when I quit my job I hsf paper, for no other purpose than to suck the wind right out of my own employer's expected attempts, to stop keep me from collecting, or more to the point keeping those benefits by using the unemployment appeal process.
The Beginning of the End
It was 2006, and something struck me odd about the phone call to inform me my job was being eliminated upon my return from an FMLA leave.
The position elimination didn't come as a surprise since my employer had recently sold to huge cost control company. It may be beside the point now, but for years on end, my employer had encouraged it's employees to have very negative feelings about this new employer as our despicable rival competitor.
Despicable might be an overstatement for what I viewed as rampant indifference to fight all unemployment claims to the exclusion of any lowly hearing coordinator knowing enough to make valid recommendations about an employer's appeal prior to a hearing.
Yet, armed with all that learning how $I works over the years working for my first employer, I recognized some below the belt employer tactics and strategies coming my way .. even though I'd just been notified I'd be laid off upon my return to work.
I reverted to how I'd always done my job, even if I was currently on an approved FMLA leave after I had surgery. I was still an employee, supposedly for another four weeks and I felt like I needed to create a solid paper trail .. in case this new employer might try something that forced me .. to disprove something.
Anyway, the call from the branch manager forced me off the couch to check the FMLA paperwork I'd received while in hospital. And indeed it had a different return to work date than what my doctor had told me would be my first appointment to see is he'd let me return to work.
I wasn't shocked but I was damned, if I was going to let a something some employers might call a best practice .. defeat me of benefits.
I could see the problem ahead, clear as day ..
"Claimant voluntarily quit their job when they failed to return to work from an "approved medical leave of absence."
Suffice it to say, there was something fishy going on with the leave's RTD date the comp management company handling my FMLA claim had given .. that was different from what my doctor had told me. A clerical mistake? Maybe, but if you're speculating, when you can verify, you're leaving something to chance.
So what is a reasonable person to do in this situation?
Preemptively cover thy ass, with paper proof, tightly pertaining to why you are not at fault for what you can only speculate about (motive) in case your doctor doesn't release you back to work .. on the last day you can say you still had a job .. that's what!
My doctor, bless his little neurosurgeon's heart, was on a European vacation and I was informed he would be back until after my LDW (last day of work) which coincidentally was the day before I was to be laid off due to a lack of work cause by my position being eliminated.
Assuming it wasn't a potential clerical mistake, it still took me two weeks of emailing a leave management company for the sole purpose of convincing them why they should change my FMLA RTD to to coincide with the day I was to be laid off .. if they wanted to be fair with me and potentially fully compliant with FMLA guidelines.
After I was finally was released back to work by my doctor and filed an unemployment claim, when the adjudicator confirmed my crazy suspicious mind was on the right track and I in turn offered to fax the email exchanges that
proved my RTD had been changed and I had not voluntarily quit by failing to return of a leave of absence.
Shortly after, my former employer was of nixed the appeal on the VQ issue and landed on the idea of graciously inviting me to apply for other positions that still existed within the organization. Not surprisingly .. the invitation came to me via email .. .cuz documenting facts you might need to prove later .. is sooooooo important to employers too.
Not exactly what I'd coin .. a bona fide offer of suitable work, but then I also knew about a tool of the UICC trade called the "informational letter".
In terms employees might also understand better, lets just say it's often begins when someone clicks a link, or report unemployment fraud button on an official state website.
Once again, I was just assuming there was an alternative reason for the offer to apply for other jobs .. when they had been bleeding positions to cut down on redundancy after acquiring a new unemployment vendor.
No, I wasn't jumping for joy when I received an email offering me a job as a TAX Auditor, because I didn't see a way out with an argument the work would of been unsuitable.
But a few days later when the phone call (note they didn't use email this time) came rescinding the job offer .. I was elated enough to jump up and down .. if only I hadn't been worried I might paralyze myself.
Are you noticing there is a pattern of behavior as to when employers document and when they don't? Well there's plenty of lessons to be learned about when to document and when not to .. if proving facts is the name of the game.
Recognizing When You Have Lost Control of any Good Fact To Manage
I do not like the position of being the bearer of bad news, but I have explained to more than just myself, why the news about benefits.. doesn't look too good for a claimant.
The next time I was contacted, they called and as she was my friend as well as my former supervisor, she began with I'm sorry. I've been instructed to ask if you would come back to work and coordinate hearings .. for six months maximum.
I knew there was no way to continuing collecting unemployment legitimately, so I didn't refuse the offer of suitable employment, which would of in turn given the employer another good reason to hit the button to send an informational letter.
This was my unemployed reality at the end of 2006. Over the course of the months I'd been unemployed, I'd gone from a fifty-three year old full-time, non-exempt employee working 50-55 hours a week (loved that overtime pay) with good medical benefits .. to getting sick and needing surgery to use the health benefits I paid 40 percent of the premium each month on, to being laid off while on an approved FMLA leave unable to afford the COBRA premiums, being treated as if I knew nothing about UI to being offered my old job back .. on the condition I would remain a benefitless employee of a temp agency without any paid time off .. whatsoever .. and no allowance to work overtime .. although the workload was why they wanted me back since appeals had doubled from the time I was laid off in the second quarter of the year.
When 2009 rolled around I was still working as a temp employee, it took around seventy hours a week just to stay on top of a workload that had gone from 80 hearings a week during low unemployment to 350 hearings a week .. after the recession had supposedly ended. And I wasn't getting paid any overtime for those extra hour because .. well because I was trapped in that same mindset that holds so many to their job .. I didn't want to be fired for not performing my job well .. as in to the best of my ability.
But, lucky me, I developed another health problem and neither the old employer, nor the new temp employer would provide a medically recommended work accommodation that would allow me to keep working just forty hours a week.
Don't know about you .. but that sounds like a scenario for the makings of a voluntary quit with good cause. Which, because I worked for a temp agency, became a discharge when they labeled me a do not use.
I was ready again to collect unemployment. Even if I had to wait for the temp agency's appeal to the board of review to be dismissed to get on with my life.
It's all history now .. my next move was to voluntarily stop collecting unemployment benefits .. so I could offer referrals to professional hearing reps and get paid without having to then report that income to the old ball and chain .. which for now let just say is CDLE, or the acronym for my state's unemployment department.