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Unemployment Benefits - Protest -- General Issues

When an unemployed worker files a claim for unemployment compensation and the unemployment compensation office determines that the claimant has had sufficient employment to qualify him for the receipt of benefits, a notice of his claim is mailed to the last employer for which the claimant worked and to each employer in the claimant's base period. It is often quite possible for a claimant to have more than one base-period employer. The number of base period employers varies according to the number of jobs the claimant had during that time-period designated as the base period. The last employing unit, that is the last or most recent employer, is the employer for whom the claimant was last employed when he quit or was terminated from his employment.

Only those employers who are in the base period of the claimant will be charged for benefits paid to the claimant. No employer, even if the employer were the more recent or last employer of the claimant, will be charged for benefits paid to the claimant if not in the base period. A base-period employer may be able to prevent any charging of benefits to him, in most states, by protesting the claim, as against him, due to the fact that the claimant left the base-period employer's employment without good cause or was fired for misconduct on the job.

The employer is not told much about the claim from the claim form except the claimant's name and Social Security number and the fact that the claimant has filed for a claim, the date of notification, and the benefit year. It is sometimes possible that the employer may not recognize the claimant as a former employee because the claimant has changed names. If the employer has payroll records listed by Social Security number, then there will be no problem in locating the employee. Occasionally employers are erroneously notified of claims for claimants who actually were not employed for that employer.

The 10-day time frame within which the employer has to locate the employee, locate the information for the decision whether to protest or not, and to compile the protest letter if one is needed, can become fairly short especially if there is a weekend or a holiday involved. It is best, therefore, to have a set system by which claims are handled and whereby the duties of each individual in the department handling the claims are well defined. It is best to have all claim notices, whether they be base-period employer notices, renewed claims, or last-employer notices, handled and processed in the same manner and in the same department with the ultimate responsibility vested in one individual. The general steps for handling a claim consist of:

  • Identifying the worker as one who actually worked for the employer and determining the particular department, organization, etc.
  • Locating and matching records on file for information regarding that employee's work and employment status with the employer and whatever information is available regarding the separation from employment.
  • Developing and utilizing a system for gathering further information concerning each employee's status.
  • The utilization of certain forms to simplify the gathering of information and filing thereof.
  • The decision of whether or not to protest, and the preparation and filing of the protest letter if one is required.
  • The maintenance of a follow up file regarding the determination of the claim and protest.

Each employer will have a system best suited for him according to the size and organization of the employer and according to the staff available for handling unemployment claims.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

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