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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: NJ

    Hi,

    Long story short: I was just told that I was disqualified of unemployment benefits as of June 04, 2012, because I resigned from my part time job (Nov 04, 2011) to follow my husband who got a new job in VA (Sept 20, 2011), after I was laid of from my full time job (May 10, 2011).

    Here are the details:

    I worked as a full time retail employee for a company since November 26, 2007. I was laid of on May 10, 2011, but I was told that if I am interested they might have a part time position in a different department, and if I contact the other department Manager within 30 days, I might be able to keep eligibility for medical benefits (both me and my husband were covered through my insurance).

    After the initial 3 days shock, I contacted the Manager in the other department and was called for an interview, and then was hired as a part time employee. I could keep my medical insurance but I had to pay 5 times more then what I was paying as a full time employee Eventually I gave up on the coverage because I could not afford it. The pay was less and I had to commute 25min vs. 5min for my full time location but it was a job.

    Meanwhile I had filed an unemployment claim (05/08/11) and was approved for benefits.

    In August my husband received a job offer in VA. He was told that they need him to work in the location in VA until they open the new store in NJ and then he would be transferred back (few months). He accepted the job and move to VA in September. We were originality thinking of keeping the apartment in NJ and for me to stay there until he comes back to NJ. But the opening of the new store was postponed, and we could not afford to keep both apartments any longer, especially since I was only working Part Time.

    So long short story after 2 months on my own, I was forced to resign from my PART TIME job and move to VA (November 20,2011).

    I am seeking job down here ever since, but no luck so far I was claiming the biweekly benefits and didn't have any problems until I had to reopen my claim (May 06,2012 - the new claim had to be transferred to my original claim from 05/18/11 because the new benefit payment would be too low).

    Two weeks following the reopening, I was told that my claim is under investigation because my employer stated that I resigned from my work

    I was scheduled for a non-monetary phone interview (06/04/12)...Spoke with the guy and explained everything...he even said that my situation is unusual: confused: Anyway he told me that I will ether receive a payment or a letter explaining why my claim was denied. Since I didn't receive a payment or a letter, I checked the status on my claim online. It was saying that it is PENDING and that I have to talk to a representative.

    So I called the number...2 hours latter, the lady who picked up the call, said that I was disqualified because I resigned from my work, that a letter was send 10 days ago (I never got it ) and that I can appeal if I want to.

    So again my question is: Thas this sounds right and lawful to you? What are my chances if I appeal? I thought that my claim was connected to my full time job (laid off)?

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/...onmonetary.pdf

    According to that as of 2011, NJ only recognizes trailing spouse benefits for military spouses.

    However, you did mention that you couldn't afford two households.

    http://azcourts.gov/Portals/89/memod/UB/UB100261.pdf

    Try to use that fact pattern plus the other three cited cases in this opinion to try to make a case for a good cause quit based on a different theory.

    The part time job you had was nothing but a consolation prize, and was only practical because of your husband's employment. When he moved, your job was no longer viable, and affordable housing then becomes a compelling reason to do what you did.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    Chyvan,

    Thank you for your quick response and for the provided links!

    I spoke with somebody from the unemployment office today, trying to find out my case number, so I can send an appeal letter. For my surprise the lady said that the other lady, that actually told me about the disqualification, was wrong and an official letter is yet to be send. She said that I MUST wait until I receive it, in order to send an appeal letter.

    She mentioned that they are still waiting for the Adjustment Department decision, because I was receiving benefits She didn't want to explain to me what does that mean... But now I see in the link that you sent me, that the person was obligated to pay back the benefits that he received. Do you think that this would be the case with me?!?! I left my part time job in November and I was getting paid benefits until the end of May...that's like $10,000 It would be impossible for us to come up with so much money.

    Thank you in advance!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    It's because of the overpayment that you have to try very hard to go under a different theory that might allow you to keep your benefits. Moving to follow your husband is not going to work based on the link I sent.

    You have to turn this into a "housing issue."

    Also, when/if you get an overpayment notice, be sure to follow the instructions to appeal it. There are two separate issues involved. NJ might try to make it a fraud overpayment, but you should be able to make it not one. NJ was fully aware that you were reporting weekly part-time wages, and then you stopped. It would also make sense that you notified them of your new address. Those two facts should have been enough for them to start asking questions in November as to what happened to your part-time job and why you moved.

    If you are fortunate enough to get a nonfraud overpayment, you can appeal that under "equity and good conscience." So while you may not be able to get a good cause quit of the part-time job, you then have a chance to at least not pay back the benefits you received from November to May. However, with your husband having a job, it might be a pretty slim chance to get the overpayment waived. I've only ever read of "equity and good conscience" waivers being granted to the those so destitute that the likelihood of collecting would be a waste of the state's effort to attempt to collect.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,394

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    I thought that my claim was connected to my full time job (laid off)?

    Because you got laid off from one job and successfully opened a claim, doesn't mean that you can reopen the claim if you quit another job. The claim is established on the original layoff, but whether or not you can reopen it at any given time is going to depend on the MOST RECENT reason you are unemployed. You don't go back to the original reason.

    FYI, unemployment is not a needs based program. If your job loss is for a non-qualifying reason, it doesn't matter if your next step is living in a cardboard box on the corner. If your job loss is for a qualifying reason, it doesn't matter if you won the lottery the day before.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    I didn't close and reopen the claim. I claimed after my laid off. Then I told them about my part time job (including who the employer is and the position)...I was reporting my earnings from the part time biweekly...After I left my Part time job, I told them that I moved to VA because my husband got a new job and that this is the reason why I no longer have a job (I actually spoke with and agent on the phone!). I am up to date with the biweekly calling. I am actively looking for job. I did everything that I was required to do and they never said that there is a problem.

    Then when the 1 year period passed, and I was due for automatic "reopening" of the claim, I spoke with a representative and told her everything the way it was - the last day of employment with the full time job, the last day of employment with the part time job, why I had to leave the part time job etc. She reopened the claim and told me that the updated claim had to go back to the original claim because the new benefits would be too low. She never said that there is a problem and I received a payment for 3 more weeks.

    When I called to ask them about the 4th week they apologized and told me that it was accidentally voided, that they are sending the info to the adjustment department and that I should receive the benefit payment within a few days. Two weeks passed by and since I didn't receive it I called again...This is when they told me that my claim is pending and I am scheduled for a non-monetary interview.

    So all those people, that I actually spoke with on the phone, never realized that there is a problem? I didn't do anything wrong ( I strictly followed the rules in the handout that they gave me)...I relied on there expertise ...and now I would be penalize because NON OF THEM did their job? It is frustrating

    Anyway, I found something and I wanted to ask you if that could be applied somehow to my case...at least to lower the amount of the over payment?:

    "N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.2 (2012)

    12:17-9.2 Voluntarily leaving secondary part-time employment

    (a) A worker, who is employed by two or more employers, one of which is full-time work and the other(s) part-time work, who is separated from the full-time employment and becomes eligible for benefits, and subsequently voluntarily leaves the part-time employment, shall be subject to a partial disqualification for voluntarily leaving the part-time employment. An individual may avoid partial disqualification if he or she can establish good cause attributable to such work as defined in N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1(b). The partial disqualification amount is determined by dividing the total part-time earnings during the eight-week period immediately preceding the week in which the separation occurred by the total number of weeks the individual worked in that part-time employment during the eight-week period. The partial earnings amount is then deducted from the partial weekly benefit amount. The partial disqualification shall remain in effect until the individual becomes reemployed and works four weeks in employment, which may include employment for the Federal government, and he or she has earned in employment six times the individual's weekly benefit rate, as determined in each case.
    1. An individual, who leaves part-time employment and, without prior knowledge, is subsequently separated from full-time employment, shall not be disqualified for leaving the part-time employment.
    2. Personal reasons for leaving part-time employment which arise from the loss of the full-time employment may constitute good cause attributable to such work.
    (b) A worker who is employed by two or more employers on a part-time basis and who leaves one employer voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work, shall be subject to disqualification for voluntarily leaving work."

    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/njcode/
    N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.2 (Copy w/ Cite)
    Pages: 2
    N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.2

    NEW JERSEY ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
    Copyright (c) 2012 by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law

    *** This file includes all Regulations adopted and published through the ***
    *** New Jersey Register, Vol. 44, No. 11, June 4, 2012 ***

    Thank you in advance!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    I'm going to assume you've never collected UI before.

    I know the states have all these glowing commentaries about how you CAN work part time on their websites. In practice, the correct thing they should be telling claimants is "DO I have to work part time." 95% of the time the answer would be, no.

    I know you think you did the right thing taking that part time job as a consolation prize, but if ever in this situation again, take your discharge, and go file, and don't look back. Look for a job as good or better than what you had, and never apply for part time work.

    This is where the "housing" fits in: "2. Personal reasons for leaving part-time employment which arise from the loss of the full-time employment may constitute good cause attributable to such work."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    Chyvan,

    Your assumption is correct And YES lesson learned
    Now I can only pray that my worst fears (overpayment charges) would turned out to be false. Hopefully the determination letter will come asap (the lady on the phone told me that the Adjustment Department is pretty backed up and it might take a while...), and will provide some clarity on what should I do next, because the waiting is killing me There is nothing worst than the unknown...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    Unfortunately the letter of overpayment came on the mail today But I am a little confused because there is actually 2 letters:

    1. Total debt: $11,581 - "you were not eligible....because: YOU QUIT YOUR JOB WITHOUT GOOD CAUSE" - includes payments from 11/05/11 - 5/19/12
    2. Total debt: $7,293 - "you were not eligible...because: A MONETARY REDETERMINATION REDUCES YOUR ENTITLEMENT" - includes payments from 1/21/12 - 5/19/12

    Also it does not have a letter that says "you were disqualified because..." So which one should I appeal?
    Thank you in advance!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Denied Unemployment After Resigning Job as a Trailing Spouse

    You were supposed to appeal the determination from back in June, and with this one you appeal item #1.

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