Questions and Answers when Filing for Unemployment:

Hopler, Wilms, & Hanna, PLLC

1.     I was disqualified for unemployment benefits.  How do I appeal this decision?

–  There is a short window to appeal a NC unemployment benefits decision.  The decision letter you received will likely have a deadline to file an appeal to your NC unemployment claim and instructions on the different ways to appeal in person, by e-mail, or by fax.  When you appeal, be sure to include the information requested on the decision letter you received.

2.     I was granted benefits but my previous employer appealed.  How do I handle this?

–  It is not uncommon for an employer to appeal a NC unemployment decision.  The employer will typically have to pay out something when a claim is filed, so they have an invested interest in the outcome.  You can talk with an attorney at our office for free about whether there is a likelihood of the employer being successful on an NC unemployment appeal and how to be prepared for the unemployment hearing process.  Because of recent changes in the law, claimants who are initially granted benefits but lose at a later appeal will likely have to pay back benefits they have received.

3.     Why is my employer fighting so hard to prevent me from getting unemployment?

–  With the exception of only a handful of cases, the employer’s bottom line is affected by your claim.  Their profit margins go down if they have to pay on your NC unemployment claim.  Some employers are particularly litigious and experienced at fighting NC unemployment claims.

4.     The decision I received said I had misconduct connected with the work.  What does this mean?

–  Misconduct is a legal term defined in the NC Employment Security law.  If it is held that you had misconduct connected with the work, you are disqualified for benefits.

5.     What can I do about a late appeal?

–  If you appealed the decision on your NC Unemployment Claim late, you have to show the hearing officer that you had good cause for appealing late.  If the hearing officer decides that your neglect was excusable, you can have a late appeal.  The regulations require that you act as a person of ordinary prudence who is engaging in important business.

6.     What is the hearing going to be like?

– The first 5 to 7 minutes are reserved for administrative matters, you will be sworn in, the hearing will be recorded, and testimony will be taken.  Each side will present evidence through testimony and documents.  Each side will have the opportunity to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses to try and elicit favorable testimony.  When the hearing is concluded, there will be an opportunity for a brief closing argument and then a decision will be mailed.  If the hearing goes over one hour, sometimes the hearing will be adjourned and rescheduled for a second day of hearing.

7.     I had a hearing already but it did not go well.  What else can I do?

–  On the decision you will see your next right of appeal, and deadlines for appealing.  Often there will be instructions on what you must say in your appeal (such as specifying your grounds for appealing).  As a general matter, reversing a decision occurs less frequently the higher up you go in the appeals process, but we can evaluate whether you have a chance of success if you have already had your hearing.

8.     What does it cost to talk with an attorney about my unemployment benefits?

–  Nothing.  Traditionally, attorneys charge for consultations, as it takes the attorney time away from other work.  However, since most of our clients have become recently unemployed, we have to do away with traditional notions of attorney’s fees and embrace more practical billing models.  We offer complimentary consultations for unemployment appeals.  If, after talking with us, you want to retain an attorney, we are happy to discuss a fair arrangement for representation.

9.     I quit my job.  Can I get unemployment benefits too?

–  Often we get calls saying “I quit my job.  I’m not qualified for benefits am I?”  That notion is a myth.  While it is more difficult to get unemployment benefits if you quit your job, you can get benefits in a number of circumstances.  The legal standard is that the claimant must show “good cause attributable to the employer.”  Some attorneys do not take on “quit” cases.  We do and are happy to give you an honest assessment of your case and discuss the hurdles you might face.

10.   I have unanswered questions.  How do I get more help?

–  We offer consultations for unemployment appeals at no cost to the claimant.  This is a service we offer since we know that if you are calling about an appeal, you have likely been without a steady stream of income for some time.  You can call us at (919) 244-2019 or e-mail [email protected].

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