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Frequently Asked Questions: What about Unemployment Insurance?
Do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance?
Qualification for California Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Insurance is a surprising complex subject. Very generally speaking, if you lose your employment without intending to end the employment relationship, then you may qualify if you have the requisite earnings-period while employed. However, whether your termination will be considered voluntary or involuntary, and whether fault will be attributed to your involuntary termination is all a matter of guidelines that have been developed under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
The place to learn more about the eligibility guidelines is here, the EDD website.
My employer told the EDD I abandoned my job!
This is probably the #1 reason why initial claims are denied and claimants are forced to go to an appeal hearing. Job abandonment is often alleged when an employee is absent for medical reasons but fails to give the employer the proper notices, or the employer can't contact the employee. The facts and circumstances may require you to tell your story at an appeal hearing. You may need some help to do this properly.
I was forced to resign, am I still eligible for UI Benefits?
Perhaps. A real, substantial, and compelling reason that would force any reasonable person to resign may allow the EDD to determine you did not voluntarily quit. There are examples of how the EDD, or California Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, views real, substantial and compelling reasons on the EDD website, here.
My employer took steps to terminate me, but allowed me to submit my resignation first; do I qualify for UI Benefits?
Perhaps. If you attest that your employer took steps to terminate you and your employer doesn't contest your statements to the EDD then your termination wasn't really involuntary - you should qualify. However, if you "guessed" you were going to be terminated and you took action first - then you are probably disqualified. It's a facts and circumstances determination by the EDD, and you can read more here.
My employer is contesting my UI Benefit's claim, what do I do?
If you fail to qualify for UI Benefits based on the determination of the EDD intake officer, and you believe you should qualify, then you submit the Appeal request to CUIAB when you received the form in the mail. CUIAB appeals are run by Administrative Judges that know the law well, have practical experience, and will consider all of the relevant facts and circumstances. Many claimants are successful in having the initial determination overturned by the CUIAB administrative judge.
Do I need to have an attorney represent me at the CUIAB hearing?
Attorney representation is not required, and some claimants do a fine job of presenting their arguments. However, you need to be honest with yourself in assessing how well you understand the laws that apply to you situation, how you've put together your arguments and evidence, and whether you can remain emotionally detached. My impression is most claimants go into the appeal hearing mis-understanding the legal framework the Administrative Judge must use to determine the claimant's eligibility status and so the appeal argument falls short of what the Judge needs to hear. As fair as your Administrative Judge may be, if you don't present the relevant arguments and testimony there is little that can be done.
I recommend that you at least get a consultation from a competent attorney before you attend your hearing.
Employment Law Practice
For legal advice, consult your lawyer (or hire me) ! This is general information only; not guidance for your particular situation.