What should I do when I receive an unemployment claim?

If you intend to respond to an unemployment claim, make sure that you respond promptly.  Failure to respond within a relatively short time limit (10 days or less in most states) will generally result in an unfavorable decision, regardless of how strong your case is.

If the worker was laid off due to lack of work, he or she will normally be found eligible for unemployment benefits.  However, submitting information about vacation pay or other forms of remuneration paid at the time of separation could result in a finding that the worker was in effect still employed until after the period covered by these additional payment(s) has elapsed.

If the worker was discharged for misconduct, write a brief explanation about the worker's actions (or inaction) which led to his/her discharge.  Remember, the state agency will be looking for information that establishes knowledge, culpability and control (see the section of the FAQ on misconduct).  Therefore, include information about any related warnings, any damage caused by the misconduct and any information which would help to establish that the worker had control over the situation which led to his/her discharge.

If the worker voluntarily quit, your claim response should include information about any action the employer took to help the worker solve any problems connected with his/her reason for leaving.

If the state agency contacts you for additional information, be sure to respond back to them promptly.  Because the states are under time constraints to make decisions, they will usually go ahead and make their decision without your additional information.  Even though their questions may seem irrelevant or cause you to do some further investigating, it is usually easier to dig up answers to their questions at the initial determination level than to take the case to an unemployment hearing later on.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in the examples given on this page is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice.  There are no guarantees that a particular state unemployment adjudicator will rule as others have in the cited examples.  Individuals seeking legal advice concerning the handling of similar matters should consult with their attorney, rather than relying upon the information given.

The purpose of this document is to educate clients and potential clients about unemployment compensation. While some effort has been made to address the many differences in laws and procedures in the 53 different jurisdictions (each of the fifty states plus Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands), the primary purpose of this presentation is to review some basic principles shared by many jurisdictions.