Unemployment Insurance (UI) is an invaluable resource to workers who have been recently displaced from their jobs or have received a reduction in work hours through no fault of their own. Monetary benefits are provided on a temporary basis to assist qualifying workers with monthly household costs, including housing, food and medical costs.

Your local unemployment office is responsible for the processing of your UI application, including in the determination of your eligibility for UI benefits or lack thereof. If the office finds that you are not eligible to receive benefits, you will receive a denial letter by mail that will detail the reason that you are not eligible for the UI program.

You have the right to an unemployment appeal in the event that your benefits are denied, altered or you receive an “overpayment” of benefits. While filing an appeal does not guarantee a different decision in your case, it does ensure that a second look is provided. If a decision on your case was made in error, an appeal may result in a different decision.

UI Requirements and How to Submit a Claim Through an Unemployment Office

For your unemployment claims to be accepted, you must meet Unemployment Insurance eligibility requirements. While requirements can differ slightly between state programs, eligibility requirements generally include:

  • That you are unemployed or underemployed through no fault of your own.
  • That you meet minimum work amounts during your “base period”.
  • That you meet minimum wages earned for the time you worked during your base period.
  • That you are not considered self-employed.

Depending on your state, you may be able to apply with your local unemployment office in person, online or over the phone. When filing your initial UI claim, you must include information about yourself and your employer(s), including:

  • Your name, date of birth and full Social Security Number.
  • The company names, addresses and dates worked for previous employers.
  • The reason that you have become unemployed or underemployed.

You must file your claim in the state that you worked within, even if you are living in a different state. When completing an application, it is essential for you to ensure that all of the information that you provide is truthful and accurate to the best of your ability. Any inaccurate information could potentially result in your UI benefits being denied or in an overpayment.

What is an unemployment appeal?

You can file an unemployment appeal after receiving a decision letter regarding your benefits. While an appeal does not guarantee a different decision will be made on your case, it does allow a second look. If a decision was made on your case that was incorrect, the previous decision would then be overruled for the new one. The most common reasons to file an unemployment appeal include:

  • After receiving a denial of UI benefits.
  • After receiving a notice of overpayment.

If your unemployment claims have been denied due to a lack of eligibility, it is important to read your notice in order to determine why you were found ineligible for benefits. The most common reasons that unemployment benefits may be denied include:

  • If you voluntarily quit your place of employment without “good cause”.
  • If you lost your job due to work-related misconduct.
  • If you are unwilling or unable to work.
  • If there was false or inaccurate information on your Unemployment Insurance application.

An unemployment check overpayment occurs if you receive a greater amount of unemployment benefits than you were entitled to. While far more uncommon than denials, an overpayment can occur for several reasons including:

  • Due to inaccuracy or false statements on your UI application.
  • Clerical errors.
  • Failing to inform your unemployment office of a change, such as a change to your income after accepting new employment.

Regardless of the reason for an overpayment or who was at fault, any overpayment amount must be repaid in full. However, you can appeal a decision for overpayment if you believe that you did not receive an overpayment.

Can you collect unemployment if you quit?

Your unemployment office will likely deny your Unemployment Insurance benefits if you voluntarily quit your job. In rare cases, benefits may still be provided if your resignation was for a “just cause” such as if asked to do something illegal. However, in most cases, you may be responsible for providing proof that you had just cause.

How to File an Unemployment Appeal for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

You can file an unemployment appeal after receiving a decision letter from your local office. Not only will your decision letter detail the reasons that your benefits were denied or inform you of an overpayment, but the letter will contain instructions on how you can file an appeal. The appeal process can vary widely between state programs, so it is crucial that you follow these instructions carefully.

Depending on your state program, you may be able to file an unemployment appeal online, over the phone, by mail or by visiting your local office. All appeal requests must be submitted before the cutoff date, which will be listed on your decision letter.

A hearing will be scheduled to review your case. If your UI benefits were denied, your previous employer will likely also be notified of the hearing. The hearing is conducted by a judge who reviews the case and allows each involved party to present evidence and argue the case. After the hearing is concluded, the judge will issue a written decision regarding the appeal by mail to all participating individuals.

The Importance of Continuing Unemployment Claims During an Appeal

You must continue to submit your unemployment weekly claim while your appeal is processing. Your unemployment check, if granted, will be impacted by any weeks that you could, but did not file a claim.

Therefore, it is crucial that you continue to follow all UI program rules, including your search for new employment and submit your weekly or biweekly claim, as determined by your state program. If the appealed decision is in your favor, you will receive the benefits that were owed to you, so long as you continued to meet all Unemployment Insurance criteria.