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Reopening Unemployment Claims

Updated : August 8th, 2022

How to Reopen Unemployment Claims?

You can receive unemployment benefits if you have lost your job through no fault of your own. However, it terminates the moment you secure a new job. But if your new unemployment does not last long, you can start receiving benefits again by simply reopening your claim. Wondering how to reopen unemployment claims? This article will break it down for you!

When Can You Reopen An Unemployment Claim?

You can reopen an unemployment claim under any one of the following circumstances.

1. Laid Off

If you are laid off or furloughed again after returning to work, you can reopen an existing unemployment benefits claim. Before trying to reopen the claim, contact your state’s unemployment office to determine you are eligible to reopen the existing claim or are required to file a new one. 

If you have not worked for the entire week for which you are filing a claim, you can reopen your claim without a waiting period, provided your state has that provision. However, if your state does not have this option, you would have to wait for one full week without a job before collecting benefits.

2. Fired From Work  

You can reopen your claim if your fired from work or forced to quit. But if you are terminated for misconduct, you won’t qualify for unemployment benefits. When you are fired, first, contact your state’s unemployment office and determine if you can reopen your previous unemployment claim or file a new one.

Note that your state may allow you to reopen the claim based on several aspects of your case. Also, similar to being laid off, if you have not worked for a full week for which you are claiming, you will have to wait for one entire week to collect benefits.

3. Reduced Work Hours

When you have a full-time job, you cannot file an unemployment claim. However, if your employer has reduced your working hours, you can reopen and collect your unemployment benefits. But note that under such circumstances, you can claim only partial unemployment and not regular UI benefits. Depending on your state guidelines, you may be required to wait for one entire week to collect your partial unemployment benefits.

4. Unsafe Working Conditions

You can reopen your previous unemployment claim if you have voluntarily quit your new job due to unsafe working conditions. However, while reopening the claim, you must have evidence and prove that your workplace was indeed unsafe. 

Note that despite applying for a claim soon after leaving your job, you may be required to wait for one full week before collecting your benefits. 

Reopening an unemployment claim depends on the year the claim was initially opened. For instance, let’s assume that you had opened an unemployment claim in 2019 but got a job later in that year, and again lost the job in the same year. In such cases, you can reopen the previous claim. But if you lost your work in 2020 and want to collect benefits, it will be considered as refiling a claim. 

How It Works

People who lose their jobs a second time, fall into two different categories. The first one being a case where a person loses his job within 52 weeks of filing for UI. The second, a person who was laid off post expiration of the 52 weeks.

For people in the first category, things are pretty easy. You can simply start claiming your benefits if you have any remaining benefits i.e., if you are in the latter category, you may have to reapply for unemployment insurance.

The benefit amount that you will receive and your eligibility criteria may depend heavily on the time duration between your previous unemployment compensation and recent unemployment. Likely, your previous claim won’t be affecting your new claim in any way, also your current benefit amount will be calculated from the wages you earned in your most recent employment. In most cases, the amount you receive will be smaller than what you received in the first benefit year.

You must also be able to prove that your recent unemployment is not voluntary or a result of your mistakes.

Details Required To Claim UI Benefits Again

You may need to submit all relevant details to refile for unemployment irrespective of whether you are still in the same benefit year. Before you start filing, it will be handy to keep the following information ready.

  • SSN
  • Personal identification number (PIN)
  • Motor vehicle card no. / driver’s license
  • Complete mailing address with zip code
  • Contact number
  • Names and contact details of all your previous employers
  • Employer Registration Number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your latest employer
  • If you were a federal employee, copies of SF8 and SF50
  • For military service, your most recent separation form (DD214)
  • Your Alien Registration Card no. if you are not a U.S. citizen.

How To Reopen Unemployment Claims

The steps involved in reopening an unemployment claim varies from state to state. Some states may allow its citizens to reopen and file a claim online with their previously assigned Personal Identification Number (PIN) and username. Other states may require you to call and talk to the representatives at the unemployment office.

Reopening A Claim Online

To reopen your unemployment claim online, follow the below-mentioned steps.

Step 1 – Log in to your UI account and choose to reopen your claim.

Step 2 – Fill all the details and answer all the questions asked by the Department Of Labor (DOL). This allows DOL to determine your eligibility.

Step 3 – Review and submit the details. On applying, you may get a confirmation notice/letter. Save it for future records.

Some states like California may also allow you to reopen a claim by fax or mail.

Extension of Benefits

As you may already know, benefits are usually awarded for up to 26 weeks, and extended benefits are provided only during the time of crisis. Once your benefits expire, you will have to reapply for them. The unemployment agency usually sends you a notice informing you that your benefits are about to expire. It also informs you regarding how you can reapply to enjoy continued benefits.

I Need Help To File My Claim

If you are disabled or unable to file the claim yourself, you may seek help from a trusted person. You do not have to file your claim yourself. However, no matter how much you trust the person you choose to aid you, we strongly recommend that you be present each time they help you and use your PIN.

Also, do keep in mind that you will be held responsible for the actions of your helper. Furthermore, you will be subject to penalties, and you may even forfeit your benefits if you are NOT PRESENT when a helper aids you.

Claim Denials

Unfortunately, claims can be denied sometimes. Several reasons could lead to this. The most commonly seen reason for claim denial is when the unemployment agency fails to determine that you lost your job through no error of yours. Or if you have not earned sufficient wages during a base period. Whatever the case is, the agency holds the right to deny your claim if they find you ineligible.

However, if your claim gets denied, you can always request the agency to reconsider your application. To do so, you will have to file an appeal. Directions on how to do so are usually enclosed within the letter you received from the agency stating that your claim has been denied. In most cases, there is a specific time frame within which you reapply if you want to send an appeal.

I Don’t Think I Will Qualify

Has reading so much has led you to believe that you would not qualify for the benefits? If so, we still strongly recommend that you still proceed with filing your application. This article is only informative. Only the State Unemployment Agency has the absolute authority to decide if you qualify or not. Apply all the same, and think of the rest later. You can also refer to our Unemployment Q & A section for more information.

Hunt For Jobs

Not Steve Jobs, the ones that pay you for the work you do. You know that you cannot go on depending on your UI benefits forever. Also, it is imperative that you actively search for a new job because it is one of the requirements that you must fulfil to qualify for the benefits.

A Word of Advice

By reopening your unemployment claim you can meet your financial meets temporarily. However, in the mean time make sure you look for a job that let’s you earn good income and help you be financially stable. We understand that you are going through a difficult stage. Worrying about it too much is not going to help in any way as it will only lead to adverse effects on you. Try to stay positive, spend time with your loved ones, and search for new employment opportunities. Update your social media profiles to make them more employer-friendly and never give up on hope. Good luck!

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