An unemployment lawyer can help you settle an unemployment claim when you are at risk of being (or have already been) denied payments.
Most unemployment cases are relatively straightforward, allowing ex-employees to file on their own. However, you may need an employment attorney to help when your claim is denied or if you are filing legal claims against your employer.
A labor attorney is specially trained to help clients in claim appeals. An appeal occurs when an ex-employee files for unemployment but is denied any benefits. He or she may file an appeal and attend a court session to determine if the employer should, in fact, pay out any benefits. Learn how an attorney can help you.
Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
An employment law attorney can help you decide if you qualify for benefits. After being displaced from your job, you must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to receive any unemployment benefits. It can be a bit confusing trying to determine if you meet these conditions, which is where a lawyer comes into play.
Social Security disability requirements, for example, are specifically held to a certain group of workers. Those who have become disabled before reaching retirement age and can no longer work are eligible for Social Security disability insurance, or SSDI. These requirements include:
- Having a condition considered “severe;” cannot work for at least 12 months
- Having a condition on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of disabling conditions
- Have worked for a certain amount of time
- Have worked recently
- Have worked in a job covered by Social Security
A labor attorney can help determine if a worker qualifies for unemployment for other reasons, such as getting laid off. For example, most workers must have earned a certain amount of money in the immediate 12 months prior. Generally, those who quit without good cause do not qualify for benefits. Likewise, those who were fired for misconduct or related causes are not eligible for unemployment.
Unemployment Filing Process
An unemployment lawyer is educated and trained in the legal system, which can be very confusing for most citizens. After getting laid off, fired without cause or becoming disabled, it is time to file for unemployment. These benefits are designed to provide a steady flow of income to help unemployed citizens get back on their feet.
The SSDI application is lengthy and requires applicants to provide a wealth of information. Rather than trying to complete it on their own, disabled workers can enlist the help of an attorney to ensure they complete all necessary steps and provide all required information.
The unemployment insurance application process is defined at the state level. As such, workers must check with their state of residence to inquire about the application. Some states allow online or over-the-phone applications.
An employment attorney can help you gather all the necessary information, including:
- Information about you
- Date of birth, place of birth and Social Security number (SSN)
- Full name, Social Security number and date of birth of your spouse and any former spouses
- Date and place of marriages
- Names and dates of birth of any minor children
- Your bank account and routing numbers
- Information about your condition
- Name, address and phone number of an emergency contact
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals and clinics
- Medication information
- Names of prescribers
- Names and dates of medical tests
Unemployment Appeals Process
Filing an appeal without an unemployment lawyer is a very risky idea. The average citizen is not educated or trained in the legal process, and therefore does not have a high chance of successfully appealing a decision.
An appeal is a response to a denial of benefits. Employment attorneys have special training in unemployment appeals and can be extremely helpful throughout the process.
An initial appeal typically results in an informal hearing, where a board hears the evidence and relies on it to come to a decision. Since this may be your only chance to present your case, you want to be sure it is convincing. An experienced employment attorney is learned in the state’s laws and can help you present your best evidence to the board.
Having an employment law attorney present at your hearing can be the difference between winning your case and losing it. In other words, he or she is the difference between extreme financial hardships and a steady paycheck each month.
Where to Find an Employment Attorney
A quick search for “labor lawyers near me” will likely present you with dozens of law firms in your area. Many legal teams specialize in unemployment claims and benefits, which is good news for you. There are many options from which you can choose.
However, it’s important to fin the right unemployment lawyer for your situation. Some attorneys specialize in Social Security disability insurance while others are better trained for general layoffs and wrongful terminations.
The best way to find your match is to reach out to at least three law firms or attorneys. While emailing and calling is sufficient, it’s always a good idea to meet with a lawyer in person. There, you can explain your case and provide important details you might leave out on the phone.
Choose a labor attorney with whom you are comfortable. You should be able to trust him or her and feel you are in good hands. It can feel a little nerve-wracking when speaking to a lawyer, but the ideal attorney makes you feel at ease. After all, he or she is there to help your case.
Before making your decision, ask each lawyer how he or she would present your case during an appeal. Each attorney may discuss a different approach. You should always go with the approach that makes the most sense to you. They know the legal system, but only you know your situation.