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Unemployment Benefits: Common Mistakes To Avoid While Filing A UI Claim

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the U.S. job market by storm. As per reports, the unemployment rose to 4.4 percent, and about 17 million people have filed for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in March. The UI provides temporary financial help to the unemployed, but not all of them are receiving monetary aid. While some aren’t able to get through the site-crashes and other logistical challenges to file the claim, many others aren’t getting the benefits due to the mistakes committed while filing the claim. So what are the common mistakes to avoid while filing a UI claim? Find out here!

1. Failing To Provide Earning History 

Whether you are a part-time worker, freelancer, full-time employee, while filing a claim, you must mandatorily report your gross wages for each week you have worked. Gross wages are nothing but the total amount earned before any tax deductions. If you fail to report your earnings, your benefits may be rejected, or you may be committing fraud or be prosecuted. 

2. Not Submitting Work Search Records

Though the pandemic has caused many sectors like hotels & restaurants, travel, etc. sectors to shut down, and getting hired seems unlikely, you must keep searching for a job to meet the UI benefits eligibility criteria. If you don’t look for jobs or fail to maintain the required records, your claim may get rejected. Each state will have its requirements for what counts as looking for employment. 

For instance, in New York, the claimants must maintain a written or online work search record and provide it to the labor department, whenever asked for. The document should contain details like numbers of employers contacted, date, address, positions applied, and contact methods. Whereas in California, you must recertify online every 14 days. 

3. Not Providing Required Documents

When you are filing a claim, it is essential to document all the necessary information. In addition to the name, phone number, address, date of employment, employer name, bank account number, you must provide your Social Security number. States like Utah require your driving license as a form of identification, without which your claim will be denied or delayed. 

If you were a federal employee, you have to submit either your Standard Form 50 (SF-50) or Standard Form 8 (SF-8). If you are ex-military, then provide your DD214 form. If you don’t have it, collect a copy through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ milConnect website.

If you are not a citizen of the U.S. but are legally authorized to work in the states, then you have to provide your Alien Registration Number. 

4. Filing The Claim In Another Current State 

You must file for UI benefits in the states in which you have worked and not where you are living or some other state. If you have worked in multiple states, then you choose any one state among them and file the claim. The authorities from the selected state will contact other work-states and collect the necessary information.

If you are currently stuck in another country and are unemployed, the department of labor will not allow you to file for the unemployment insurance benefits. 

5. Failing To Verify You Are Willing To Take Up A Job

To obtain UI benefits, you must continually prove that you are available, able, and ready to accept suitable employment, failing to which your claim will be delayed or denied. 

Also, if the department of labor learns that you have refused to take up a suitable job, you have to attend a hearing. If it is convinced that you have refused to take up a job without a significant reason, your claim will be denied. 

6. Not Responding To The Notice Of Determination

When you file for benefits, an adjudicator will review your claim and decide whether you qualify for your unemployment benefits or not. Once reviewed, you will receive a Notice of Determination describing whether you are eligible for UI benefits or not.

The Notice of Determination states whether your employer is “chargeable” for your claim or not. If the employer is not chargeable, you have to file an appeal within the specific period and attend the hearing. But if you fail to request an appeal by the given deadline, the state will deny your claim. 

Now that you know the mistakes to avoid while filing a UI claim, make sure dodge them. However, if you have already committed any of the above-listed mistakes listed, talk to authorities in your state. But if the claim has been denied, then request an appeal. 



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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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