The entire unemployment claims process is a series of actions, each triggered by the previous event. One step leads to another. Members of 501(c) Agencies Trust get to travel along the claims process with us working with them every step of the way. For all employers, a solid understanding of the entire process is important to ensure that your unemployment program is as efficient, and cost effective, as possible.
Let’s review each step.
The process begins with an employee separation. When you think of unemployment you might first think of a person who is permanently laid off, quit, or was discharged. Those are all valid reasons for filing a claim.
However, you should also keep in mind that a person working part-time can file for and be awarded unemployment benefits.
Through the eyes of state unemployment agencies, if a person is working part-time, that person is also unemployed part-time. The state determines the weekly benefit amount (WBA) for those employees, based on its specific formula. Another way to think of this part-time, partial-employment concept is that a claimant’s weekly earnings are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of earnings from the WBA.
Also, an employee that quits to take another job can, in the end, file for unemployment if that job disappears for some reason. Read more about that here.
Once an employee is separated from the employer for a particular reason, the employee will determine if unemployment is something that they want to pursue, and if so, they will file a claim.
At the state location where the past employee files, the state generates a claim form which is sent to the employer – or in the case of 501(c) Agencies Trust Members, sent to us as their third-party agent. Employers need to review all these claims thoroughly and then transmit an appropriate response back to the state.
For members of 501(c) Agencies Trust, we review all forms that we receive from the state agency and request additional details from our member through our electronic claim response tool. We then forward the member agency’s response to the state on their behalf.
The state will then utilize the claimant’s statement as well as the information provided by the employer and will render an initial determination. Ideally, the determination will be favorable to the employer and the process will stop, saving time and money for the organization.
If either party is dissatisfied with the result, they can appeal the decision. Our member agencies will often consult with us regarding this appeal process. Working with us helps increase their chances of obtaining a positive appeal outcome.
About 4-6 weeks after the appeal is filed, the state will schedule an unemployment hearing. Both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony regarding the separation. We often orchestrate hearing preparation sessions with our member agencies and participate in the hearing with them.
At this point, the hearing officer will take all of the evidence provided under advisement and will make a decision which is mailed to both parties.
Board of Review
If either party disagrees with the decision, in most states, a final appeal can be filed with the Board of Review. The Board is generally a 3-member panel who will review the case in its entirety, including the recording from the hearing. No new evidence can be presented at this time. Each member votes, the majority rules and that becomes their decision.
It is important to note that the steps in this process are all on an administrative level with the Board of Review being the last step. If the party who receives the unfavorable Board decision disagrees with it, the case will have to be filed in state court or a similar venue.
For More Information
Members of 501(c) Agencies Trust are welcome to call us at (800) 442-4867 about any of the information above. Or contact us here.
If you’d like more information about the programs and services of 501(c) Agencies Trust, please feel free to call us at (800) 631-2967. Or contact us here.