New Jersey Unemployment Attorney Protecting Your Right to Unemployment Benefits
Loss of a job often means filing for unemployment insurance benefits to support yourself and your family while you find new work. While the process of applying for unemployment benefits is fairly easy, it becomes more complicated if you are denied benefits. When an individual (claimant) opens a claim for unemployment benefits it triggers an investigation into the reason for the separation from employment. Depending on the information provided by both the claimant and the employer, either the claim will be approved or the Department of Labor will schedule a fact-finding interview to gather more information regarding the claim.
The format for the claims examiner interview will vary depending on whether you have an e-mail address on file or not. The two formats are as follows:
- E-mail address on file: If the Dept. of Labor has your e-mail address on file, they will e-mail you a secure link that will take you to an online application form. The form will seek pertinent information regarding your claim for unemployment benefits and your separation from employment. One you have completed the online form, a claims examiner will review your online form and issue a determination regarding your eligibility for unemployment benefits.
- No e-mail address on file: The claims examiner interview will occur over the telephone and both the employer and the claimant are expected to participate. During the interview, the claims examiner or deputy gathers testimony and documentary evidence from both parties. After the interview, the deputy will issue a determination regarding the claimant’s eligibility for benefits.
If the deputy denies your claim for unemployment benefits, you must immediately appeal the decision to the Appeal Tribunal. Be advised that the Department of Labor imposes a strict deadline for filing appeals and will dismiss your appeal even if it was only one day late. Once a timely appeal has been filed, the Appeal Tribunal will schedule a Tribunal Hearing. An Appeal Tribunal Hearing is more probative than the initial claims exam interview and is more of a mini-trial. Generally, the format for the hearing is as follows: The Appeals Examiner will question the claimant, the employer will then question the claimant, and then the claimant’s attorney will question her client; After the claimant is done testifying, the Examiner will question the employer, then the claimant’s attorney gets to cross-examine the employer; Thereafter, if the parties have any witnesses, they will be questioned as well. After the conclusion of all testimony, both sides are afforded the opportunity to make a closing statement.
If the Appeals Examiner denies your claim for unemployment benefits, you must immediately appeal the decision to the Board of Review. Again, the appeal must be timely or it will be dismissed. Generally, there is no hearing for this appeal as the Board of Review makes its decision based solely on the record (recordings of both the fact-finding and Appeal Tribunal hearings, and any documents submitted during these hearings) and written arguments submitted by the parties.
If the Board of Review denies your claim for benefits then you must file an appeal to the Appellate Division. Again, make sure you take note of the filing deadline for appealing to the Appellate Court as your appeal will be dismissed if it is not timely filed. Motion practice in the Appellate Court is extremely difficult for a pro se claimant. In support of your eligibility for unemployment benefits, a legal brief must be submitted, and now exhibits are to be presented.