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Denied Unemployment Benefits? What to Do

Have you ever lost a job? If that is not hard enough, you must try and get unemployment benefits to help you pay your bills until you can find work. It is not a simple process. It can often be frustrating and overwhelming.

Federal and state governments work together to provide unemployment insurance to workers who are not voluntary let go from their jobs. But, to access unemployment benefits, employees need to complete required forms in the states where they were employed. Unemployed workers are often denied benefits that they believe they should receive.

For example, the news often features people fighting for unemployment benefits. There’s the accused rapist who was allowed to collect jobless benefits, but an officer’s claim denied due to misconduct.

There are typical reasons why people are denied unemployment benefits. There is also a clear process that unemployment offices take to determine whether or not someone is eligible for benefits. Fortunately, there are steps people who are denied can take. Assess your situation. If you feel you have been wrongly denied benefits, acquire help from an attorney for unemployment appeal procedures.

Why Unemployment Benefit Claims are Denied

Unemployment claims are denied for a handful of reasons. If you were given any of these reasons for denial, then it is highly unlikely that an appeal would be successful. One reason for denial is because you quit your job. There are a few reasons quitting your job would make you eligible for unemployment benefits. Those reasons are debatable, which is why hiring an attorney for the unemployment appeal process is a wise choice. If you had to quit for medical reasons, constructive discharge, or domestic violence, you will most likely receive benefits.

Being fired for misconduct is another reason benefits are denied. If you have been denied for being fired, you could still earn benefits, but only in certain situations. The misconduct needs to be rather serious for unemployment benefits to be denied. Those reasons include things like employees who steal, intentionally damage to the place of employment, failing a drug test, or intentionally creating an unsafe workplace. Because the reasons are so subjective, it is helpful to hire an attorney for unemployment appeal fights.

Benefits can also be denied when working for a specific amount of time and earning a minimum amount of money during the set time. When the unemployment office investigates your case, it looks at your base period to see if you qualify for benefits. Benefits can be denied if your employer makes a mistake recording your earnings. There are other reasons that the unemployment office explains in your denial letter.

Use the Established Appeal Process

Fortunately, there is an appeal process that has been established by the unemployment offices in each state. If you do decide to appeal, you must do so within the time limit, and some states only give 10 days to appeal. Others give up to 30 days. If you are denied, you receive a letter that explains why you were denied and what you need to do to appeal that decision.

Preparing for a Hearing

After you complete your appeal request and the unemployment office receives it, a hearing will be arranged. This is where you get to present your case and your employer gets to do the same.

It is vital that you bring paperwork that supports your claim for receiving benefits because your employer will use paperwork to prove that you should not receive benefits. You can also bring witnesses or signed testimony to help you win your case for benefits. If you quit because you were being sexually harassed, a witness could corroborate your statement.

Prior to attending the hearing, you can work with an attorney to prepare for the unemployment appeal hearing.

What Happens After the Hearing

Once your hearing is over, the mediator makes a decision. If you win, your employer cannot appeal the case. If you are awarded benefits at the hearing, then the final decision about them has been made. However, if you are denied benefits again, you could have a second hearing.

Unemployment insurance was designed to help the unemployed worker. The second hearing would be at the state level in the court system. Both you and your employer can move on to this level, but the state may not allow another hearing to occur.

If you are denied unemployment benefits and you strongly believe that you should receive them, it is vital that you go about the situation calmly and professionally. It is best that you do not react with anger by lashing out at the people who work at the unemployment office. Calmly collect your paperwork and complete the appeal form. The same goes for a second denial. Remain calm, complete the paperwork, and argue your case in a professional manner. Hopefully, everything will go your way, eventually.

Have you ever been denied unemployment benefits? If yes, what did you do?