“What to Do If Former Employee Files for Unemployment”

Losing a member of your team always has implications no matter the reason they’re gone. While you can count on needing to restructure to ensure all their responsibilities are being taken care of, you might not know when to expect a former employee to file for unemployment insurance.

Just because you aren’t expecting the unemployment insurance notice doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. Instead of being surprised, here’s what to do when a former employee files for unemployment.

1. Respond quickly

The length of time to respond varies by state, but usually it falls between two and three weeks. That’s a relatively short amount of time to research the employee separation, decide if you are protesting the claim, and then reply accurately to the notice via fax, mail, or through the state unemployment portal. While many pieces of mail get lost in the clutter, the letter from the unemployment office should always be made a priority.

Open the letter immediately and make sure the right person responds to it. You’ll need to answer questions about the former worker and provide additional documentation if needed and/or requested.

Failing to respond to this notice can cause your company to pay benefits to an employee who might not have qualified. Additionally, some states will penalize you for late or missing responses, and it may affect your ability to protest future unemployment claims.

2. Wait for the decision

After your response is sent, it’s time to wait for the decision. Usually, this will take a few weeks. Just like the initial notice, open the decision as soon as possible to see if additional action is needed on your end.

It helps to keep track of any protested claims that have not yet been given a decision, as many states will start charging your state unemployment insurance account without properly considering your protest. Resending your protest for these claims will give you a shot at getting credits for these overcharges. If you reduce enough of these charges, it will help you lower your unemployment tax liability. Yes, you can lower your payroll taxes!

3. Decide if you’re going to appeal

If the review board decided in your favor, you work is done for this claim. Just look over your unemployment benefit charge statements when you receive them to make sure the state didn’t overcharge you on these claims. If they ruled in favor of the terminated employee and you believe it should be overturned, you must submit an appeal.

If the employee left for a reason that wasn’t their fault, such as company-wide downsizing or a demotion, you will probably be required to pay the claim. If you do appeal, stay alert and on top of upcoming court dates and hearings to make sure the decision doesn’t stand simply because of your absence.

Don’t forget – the worker may file an appeal, so be on the lookout for any follow-up information.

Stay organized with Unemployment Tracker

The world of unemployment insurance is constantly changing and difficult to navigate. Depending on your workforce, you might not have the expert you need to make sure everything is being recorded and responded to appropriately. If that’s the case, we have your solution. Request a free demo from Unemployment Tracker to see how we can keep you more organized today.