When is a determination issued? The department is required to make a number of determinations that may affect an individual’s entitlement to benefits and/or the amount of benefits that are payable. When the unemployed worker calls the Claim Center to file an initial claim for benefits, we looked at the wages paid in the base period, which generally is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date the claim was filed to see if there are enough wages to qualify. In some cases, we might look at alternative time periods to determine if the individual had been paid enough wages to qualify for a benefit. We mail a “monetary determination” to every claimant that explains the wages we have used to determine whether or not the individual has been paid enough wages to qualify for a benefit, and if the individual qualifies, how much the weekly benefit amount will be. Even if the individual has been paid enough wages, he or she must still be unemployed through no fault of their own.
Quit: If the individual quit a job for reasons not related to something the employer did, he or she will be disqualified from receiving benefits until he or she goes back to work, earns six times his or her weekly benefit amount, and then becomes unemployed again, through no fault of their own.
Fired: If the individual has been fired for misconduct, he or she may be disqualified from receiving benefits for not more than 15 weeks, nor less than six weeks. If the individual was fired for “gross misconduct”, he or she will be disqualified from receiving benefits until he or she goes back to work, earns six times his or her weekly benefit amount, and then becomes unemployed again, through no fault of their own.
Separation Pay: Certain payments made following a separation may result in a reduction in the amount of benefits paid for one or more weeks. In addition, in order to maintain eligibility, the individual must be “able to work and be available for work”, conduct a work search if instructed to do so, and accept an offer of suitable work if one is made.
Fact-Finding Process: If we find there may be a question about an individual’s eligibility, an issue or issues is created. Before benefits can be paid, a process called fact-finding must be done. During the fact-finding process, an adjudicator investigates the issues and makes a formal determination on eligibility. Issues may be established based on information provided at the time a claim is filed. They may also be established based on information provided by an employer.
** Protect your rights – always participate in the fact-finding process when you have been given a notice of a fact-finding hearing or have received a request for additional information. Claimants who falsify or misrepresent information will be liable to repay overpaid benefits. Employers who do not participate in the fact-finding process will remain liable for any improper payment of benefits on or after July 1, 2010.
Fact-finding hearings are conducted over the telephone. When you receive the notice in the mail, be sure to read it and, if for some reason, you cannot be available on the day and time of the interview, you must follow the instructions provided on the notice. Please keep in mind, there are limited reasons when rescheduling can be approved.