5 Reasons You May Be Found Ineligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits

  1. DSC_0471_easyHDR_batch-dramatic-strongYou have been accused of willful misconduct

Under Section 402(e) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (“Law”) you are ineligible for unemployment compensation (“UC”) benefits if you have been discharged from your employment due to willful misconduct. To determine whether you have committed willful misconduct, the UC Service Center typically looks at instances in which you committed an act with intentional disregard to an employer’s policies or interests. It is your employer’s burden to prove your actions rose to willful misconduct. An employment lawyer can help you defend yourself if you are accused of willful misconduct.

  1. You quit for a reason that is not necessitous and compelling

A necessitous and compelling reason is needed for quitting your job if you want to be eligible for UC benefits under Section 402(b) of the Law. If a similar, reasonable person would quit his or her job for the same reason as you, it may be necessitous and compelling. Let’s say your workplace becomes a hostile work environment due to harassment and that is why you quit. This reason would most likely be seen as necessitous and compelling. If you become unable to work your job due to a health problem and quit, this reason would likely also be found necessitous and compelling.

  1. You are self-employed

Self-employed individuals (including independent contractors) are ineligible to collect UC benefits under Section 402(h) of the Law. If you are establishing a business, self-employment begins when you take the first step towards starting the new business (e.g., advertising or renting an office). If you have a sideline business, you may not have to be considered self-employed. An employment lawyer can help you determine whether or not you are eligible for benefits in this situation.

  1. You are not able and available for suitable work

In order to be eligible to collect UC benefits, you must be able and available to work according to Section 401(d)(1) of the Law. This typically means you are available for some kind of work, even if it is outside your customary line of work. The test that determines your ability and availability is a weekly one; you may be ineligible one week and eligible the next.

  1. You did not file your appeal on time

After applying for UC benefits, you will receive a Notice of Determination in the mail, stating whether or not you are eligible. If you are found ineligible and would like to file an appeal, you must do so by the appeal date in the upper right hand corner of the Notice. The appeal period lasts 15 days. It is very important to file before this period expires. An untimely appeal will cause problems and delay the process. For example, you will have to prove to a Referee that you had a good reason for filing late, which can be difficult. Extenuating circumstances, however, are considered. In any case, it is beneficial to go through the appeal process with an employment attorney.