Responding to Unemployment Claims

Did your business receive a state unemployment insurance (SUI) claim? When an employee files an unemployment claim, state agencies where the employee resides will request former employers provide more information. Your business must respond promptly, but the claims process can be confusing and time-consuming for many small businesses.

Did your business receive a state unemployment insurance (SUI) claim? When an employee files an unemployment claim, state agencies where the employee resides will request former employers provide more information. Your business must respond promptly, but the claims process can be confusing and time-consuming for many small businesses.

Qualified Unemployment Claims

When someone is unemployed through no fault of their own, they qualify for temporary financial assistance called unemployment insurance. An example of a qualified unemployment claim can come from a company that layoff their employees due to downsizing. What many small business owners do not realize is that an employee who has been fired for a valid cause can also file an unemployment claim. Small businesses may experience increased costs, liabilities, and penalties if the employer does not monitor the claim and respond in time. This process can become an HR nightmare for small businesses that are already at capacity and do not have the resources to respond to the claim.

Responding to a Claim

Each state has its own set of regulations for responding to an individual’s unemployment claim. Typically, states will cover 15 months before the claim filing date. Employers are asked to provide basic employment and wage information, as well as details regarding the circumstances that led to the employee’s termination. Resignation letters, exit interviews, disciplinary forms, and employee handbooks can be submitted as documentation.

The Appeals Process & Requesting a Hearing

The state agency overseeing the claim determines whether a claim is approved or denied. If a claim is approved, employers who are disputing the claim will be notified and receive a statutory period to file an appeal. Filing an appeal involves filling out forms and including any additional supporting documentation to support their case.

Requesting a Hearing

At the time of the hearing, both parties are usually present in person or over a teleconference. In most states, employers have the opportunity to present their case, show supporting documentation, and introduce witnesses such as a supervisor or HR manager who can back the dispute. From there, the state agency reviews the claim to determine if it is valid. Each state has its own process, and there may be multiple levels of appeals available before a final decision is made and no further recourse is available.

The Importance of Responding to Notices

It’s essential that employers respond to unemployment claims in a timely fashion. Failure to respond can have serious consequences. Missing deadlines can also leave you unable to contest an invalid claim. In some states, failure to respond can result in losing your rights to receive notifications, the right to appeal, or the right to a hearing. Staying ahead of the unemployment claims process can be stressful especially when you don’t have the time to support your case. When faced with an unemployment claim, contact your PEO to provide guidance and to make sure you do not let important follow-up items fall through the cracks.