For many individuals, navigating the unemployment benefits system is an unfortunate, but necessary reality. No one wants to be in that position because of what it usually signifies: the loss of a job. Anybody participating in the unemployment process will likely have questions as well.
Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
At the most basic level, an employee may be eligible for unemployment if he or she were fired by an employer. Generally speaking, if an employee quits, the employee is not eligible. However, there are exceptions. Other situations in which an employee may be eligible include a temporary layoff, an unpaid suspension, or a reduction in hours of work.
Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Wisconsin – Steps & Tips
There are some key points to remember when filing for unemployment, or during a fact-finding interview with a Claims Specialist from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), some of which are commonsense, but some of which may not be known:
- Be concise. Answer the questions that are asked. Do not use each question as an opportunity to “tell your story.” If you need to take a moment to formulate a response before doing so to ensure that you fully know the answer, do so. When individuals think while they speak, they have a tendency to stray and confuse.
- Be factual. Using subjective adjectives such as “unfair” or unnecessary exaggeration can paint anyone in a bad light and create arguable points where none should otherwise exist.
- Be attentive. Read all documents carefully and, if you are being interviewed, listen to each question carefully.
If unemployment benefits are approved, the employee must continue seeking employment from, at minimum, four employers per week to continue receiving benefits.
Either the employer or employee can appeal the initial determination of eligibility or benefits, at which point the case will be set for hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
Regardless where you are in the process, if you have questions, you need answers. Contact us for solutions.
Appealing a Benefits Eligibility Determination in Wisconsin
After initial paperwork is completed, a Claims Specialist will make a decision about whether a former employee is eligible for unemployment benefits. An employee or employer may appeal an unfavorable determination.
If appealed, the case will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge, where each side will argue its case for or against benefits.
The most common scenario in such an appeal is that the appellant/claimant was terminated and denied benefits based on the reason(s) provided by the former employer for the termination. The standard by which these cases are decided is called “misconduct.” The definition of misconduct includes the intentional and substantial disregard of an employer’s interests. As an example, if an employee was repeatedly intoxicated on the job, the employer warned the employee that if he was intoxicated at work one more time he would be fired, and the employee subsequently showed up intoxicated again and was fired, that would qualify as “misconduct” and benefits would justifiably be denied.
If it is determined by a Claims Specialist that an employee was terminated for misconduct, the burden is on the employee to prove otherwise. However, if a Claims Specialist grants the employee unemployment benefits and the former employer appeals, the burden is on the employer to prove misconduct.
The same applies to any other contention a former employer wishes to raise against a former employee’s receipt of benefits. If the employer is the appellant, it carries the burden.