Unemployment Benefits 101Basic Information
Unemployment Compensation (also called unemployment insurance) provides temporary wage replacement benefits to qualified individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own. Unemployment is considered administrative law and is regulated by the federal government. The states are required to meet federal guidelines for processing unemployment. The majority of people file their claim online which is then reviewed by an adjudicator. You will be contacted by phone is further information or clarification is needed.
Steps to file unemployment claim
• File Online
• Receive Confirmation
• Complete Initial Skills Review
• Claim Your Weeks and Submit Your Work Search
Many times you will be contacted by someone called an adjudicator. This person is responsible for contacting the claimant(you) and the employer for further information and clarification if needed. The adjudicator will be asking various questions specifically but not limited to:
• You were discharged (fired), you quit, or you are on a suspension or leave of absence from your last employer or other recent employers.
• You are a school employee and you are not working because you are between terms or on a vacation or holiday.
• You are unable or unavailable to work or to accept work or you are not looking for work or you have failed to report five contacts with prospective employers for work during a claim week.
• You are currently attending school or training.
• You are currently self-employed.
• You are receiving payments of some kind from a recent employer.
• You refused a suitable job offer or you refused a referral.
• You failed to participate in Reemployment Services.
• You failed to complete the initial skills review on the Internet.
Once the state makes a decision regarding your qualification a written decision will be mailed to you. The time this takes really varies. Most of the time it takes about a week but can take a month or longer. The reason why it could take longer is if the state is attempting to contact the employer for information and waiting on the response.
The letter will either state you are qualified, or disqualified for benefits.
In order to qualify for benefits, you must:
• Have lost your job through no fault of your own.
• Be actively looking for a new job.
• Be ready to take a new job when offered.
• Meet wage requirements based on your previous job(s).
There are many ways to qualify for benefits; we will cover the most common separations from an employer.
Discharge: In unemployment there is no such thing as being fired, laid off, business closing, downsized etc it is simply referred to as being discharged. A discharge is based on whether or not the claimant (employee) was discharged for misconduct or not.
Quitting: This is based on whether the claimant quit with good cause attributable to the employer or not.
If you are disqualified for benefits you have the option to appeal the decision and a hearing will be held to take testimony from the claimant.
Who conducts unemployment hearings?
This is an employee of the state typically referred to as an administrative law judge, hearing officer, or referee. Only in a few states is this person required to be a bar certified attorney, even less states require the person who have completed law school. The rest of the state’s only require a four year college degree.
Once you have a hearing scheduled
Should I go to the hearing?
Yes. If you do not go or appear in some other way:
• The Administrative Law Judge will usually dismiss your case if you are the party who filed the appeal.
• The Administrative Law Judge will usually hold the hearing without you if another party filed the appeal.
What will happen at the hearing?
At the hearing the Administrative Law Judge will:
• Record the hearing
• Explain the hearing process
• Question parties and witnesses under oath
• Receive papers and other exhibits
At the hearing each party can:
• Present necessary witnesses and exhibits
• Question parties and witnesses
• Respond to evidence presented by others
• Make closing comments
After the hearing:
The judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will then be mailed out to both parties and will state on the form is the claimant is qualified for benefits or not. Whichever party the judge rules against is allowed to appeal the decision to a higher unemployment appeals court for further review.
Have you received a determination and it was denied? File your appeal right away.
SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER 1
Sample unemployment appeal letter you can use
SAMPLE APPPEAL LETTER 2
Sample Appeal if a hearing was held and you lost
If you have the time and are interested in learning more about how unemployment benefits works for the entire United States this is good reading.
Unemployment Benefits in the United States