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After filing a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, the state’s unemployment agency will review the information in your claim, get information from your previous employer and may talk with you further. You and your previous employer have the right to appeal a state’s decision about your eligibility to claim unemployment insurance. If the state deems you ineligible after you begin receiving payments, payments will stop immediately. You may even need to pay back any payments you’ve received.
If the state denies your claim, you have the right appeal the decision. You usually must appeal the decision within a specific period of time, usually between 10 and 30 days depending on the state where you live. If the state approves your claim, your previous employer also has a period of time in which to appeal the decision. If you or your previous employer loses your initial appeal, some states offer a second level of agency appeal. If you win this second-level appeal, then your payments will start again. You and your previous employer may be able to appeal an appeals decision to a state court. You can talk to your state’s unemployment agency to find out if you have that right.
Payments During Appeal
Once you begin receiving payments from your state’s unemployment agency, your payments will not stop until the state determines you are not eligible. Even if your previous employer appeals the state’s decision, your payments will continue. If you lose this appeal, your payments will stop. If you decide to appeal this decision, you should continue certifying for benefits. You won’t receive payments unless you win your appeal, but if you don’t certify for benefits and win your appeal, the state may not let you retroactively certify for those weeks. There is no harm in claiming benefits while you wait for a decision on your appeal.
How much an employer pays in payroll tax depends in part on how many of its former employees collect unemployment. If an employer misses their appeals window, then they waive all rights to appeal the claim. If they appeal the claim and lose and then appeal this appeals decision, your payments will continue. Only if your employer wins an appeal will your payments stop.
If you collect unemployment insurance benefits and lose an appeal, the state will send you notice of how much you need to pay back. Some states require you to pay back the full amount, often with interest, if you fraudulently certified for benefits. Some states, like California, may not require you to pay back any benefits you received if you are not at fault, such as if the agency made a mistake when it issued you your payments.
Some states require unemployment insurance claimants to wait for one or two weeks before you can start certifying for benefits. The state uses this certification process to make sure you remain eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits. If you turn down suitable work, don’t look for work or don’t report earnings, you may lose your eligibility and your payments will stop. You can appeal a state’s decision to stop your payments after deeming you ineligible.
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William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.