Offering unemployment compensation to eligible jobless workers is the legal responsibility of every state in the U.S. As most of you should be aware, a monetary compensation is offered to claimants on a weekly basis in response to their claim filed in advance. The extent of compensation weeks is determined on the basis of the initial claim filed followed by an interview.
Not every unemployed worker De facto, is eligible for unemployment compensation. The application has to pass through various checks to determine the qualification and the compensation amount. The most basic requirement for UI is that the claimant should be unemployed due to involuntary reasons such as lay offs, company shutdown etc. Whatever the reason may be, there are times when the claim is denied on various grounds. Let’s take you through the various facets surrounding unemployment denial and how you can tackle it in your favor.
Unemployment Compensation Denial
On the basis of the information provided in the claim and subsequent determination, your claim for unemployment compensation may be rejected or reduced at a later stage, owing to various background processes. Just like any other state in the country, Oregon maintains a well laid out procedure to manage unemployment claims. During the course of processing the claim, if one or more conditions are not met, the department will mail an “administrative decision”, communicating the denial.
The letter contains details on why the claim was denied. Based upon the reasons provided in the letter, you as a claimant can decide to appeal the administrative decision on the basis of merits. Remember, this is your right and the same quantum of rights is provided to your employer to appeal allowance of benefits.
Common Reasons for Denial
As stated earlier, any findings which lean towards the separation from the job as involuntary, it would mostly result in unemployment compensation denial. Let’s sweep through some of the most commonly reasons for denial.
If you decided to resign from the job in order to seek better opportunities or any other such reason, your claim will be rejected. Quitting voluntarily is not an acceptable reason and therefore, it does not make sense to file a claim at all.
Fired for misconduct/performance
If you lose the job due to any of the reasons provided in the heading, you will be denied unemployment compensation. Even behavioral issues can go against you when you file. Therefore, under the law, if the employer takes you off the rolls due to reasons which hampers productivity or affects the performance of co-workers, it is not acceptable. It also includes insubordination or refusing to do a task.
Not meeting the monetary requirements
Just like all other states, you should have earned the required income during the base period (last 12 calendar quarters) to be eligible. If you do not primarily satisfy this condition, it may be an outright reject.
Therefore, if the reasons stated in the administrative decision comes close to any of the above, you may not want to appeal since you will not see any changes to the decision made by the department.
Appealing an unemployment denial in Oregon
If you’re not happy with the decision, you must not wait any further to file an appeal. The initial administrative decision becomes final 20 days after it is mailed to the claimant. Therefore, if you do not file an appeal during this period, you cannot do so after expiry of the term. During the process of appeal, you must continue to file for weekly benefits since claims will be settled during or after the appeals process retrospectively.
- The mail sent by the Employment Department (administrative decision) contains a form in to be used to request for a hearing (appeal).
- Fill the appropriate sections of the form and mail/fax it to the address provided.
- Wait for the officials to get back to you further on the details of the hearing including the date.
A typical appeals process would be conducted over the phone, represented by an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) and would also involve other parties like the employer (if required). During the process, the claimant and other parties would be given sufficient time to present their case, supporting their stance. If you’re a claimant, be sure to take an affirmative approach and present the facts and references to evidence supplied beforehand.
Points to remember
- As stated earlier, continue to file weekly claims and fulfill other responsibilities such as providing weekly search reports even if the appeal is pending.
- Mail/fax all supporting paperwork/evidence in advance so that the ALJ has the required paperwork to refer to, during the hearing.
- Most importantly, be prepared. It’s akin to a court proceeding and therefore, it paramount for you to be ready with facts.
Office of Administrative Hearings (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
P.O. Box 14020
Salem, OR 97309
Phone: (503) 947-1515
Fax: (503) 947-1531