Losing a job can be a very stressful and troubling time in your life. Unemployment benefits are available to help cushion the blow of losing a job if you qualify for them.
Applying for Unemployment
If you have lost your job, the first step to receiving unemployment benefits is to apply for them. Your state unemployment office will assist you in this process. After applying for benefits, your state will contact your former employer. You will be notified on the response from the employer.
There is a possibility you will be notified that you do not qualify for unemployment. Every situation is different, but common reasons why unemployment is denied are if you were fired for misconduct or if you quit your job. You do have the opportunity to appeal this decision. If you choose to appeal, you will be given a time for a hearing in which a judge will hear from both you and your employer.
Preparing for the Hearing
Many people are unable to hire an attorney to help with an unemployment claim. Often in these situations, both sides represent themselves. These hearings are typically done over the phone.
It is important to be prepared for your phone hearing. Know and meet all deadlines. Write out the points that you would like to make so you can keep your thoughts organized as you speak. You can subpoena witnesses to help your cause, but be sure these witnesses are relevant to the situation. They should have actual knowledge of the situation that occurred. Stay away from character witnesses.
Research unemployment laws in your state. If you understand why you are being denied benefits, you are likely to be more equipped to prove why you should receive them. It is also important for you to fully know and understand your history with the company. This will help prepare you for anything your former employer may use against you in the hearing. You will be able to cross examine witnesses or exhibits. You can also submit your own exhibits.
It is important to have a strong closing statement prepared. This statement should sum up your argument about why you should obtain benefits. Keep it clear and concise.
During the Hearing
Since most unemployment hearings are done via phone, make sure that you are somewhere quiet. It is also a good idea to use a landline phone, since cell phone phones are more likely to drop calls or provide poor reception. Make sure you speak clearly. Do not yell or whisper.
Be respectful during the hearing. Do not interrupt while others are speaking, and keep a pleasant tone of voice. Honesty is also very important.
After the Hearing
The burden of proof lies on your former employer. This means that your employer must prove your ineligibility. Depending on your state, you may have another opportunity to appeal if your employer wins. If you win, you will be directed on the next step to take in order to receive your benefits.
The chances of successfully applying of appealing for unemployment are higher when you are working with an experienced attorney. For more information, contact local law firms, such as the Law Office of Matthew J Brier.