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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Unemployment Denied Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: California. I received unemployment while i was pregnant last year, had the baby in December, got a new job in January of this year, then laid off in August (3 months ago). I received a determination notice stating that the department found i was unable to work due to illness or injury for a period of 3 weeks following my delivery. One section says I'm penalized for 8 weeks and another says I'm disqualified for 3 years following the date of the notice for "willfully" witholding relevant information to receive benefits. My questions are, 1) does that mean i am going to be penalized for 8 weeks or am I completely disqualified for 3 years? And 2) can I win this appeal by providing a note from my doctor stating that i was only unavailable for work for 4 days during the weeks in question? Im picking my doctor's note up tomorrow and have already completed my appeal form. Im pretty upset about this. I didn't willfully withhold information. I wasnt working my whole pregnancy so my doctor and i never discussed maternity leave because i didnt have ajob to leave. Filing for disability never even occurred to me...i was already receiving money from the state.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Ineligible Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    The doctor's note might actually hurt you; you're only entitled to benefits if you're actually physically able to work. Others will be along to address the other parts of your post although it sounds as if you were not entitled to those 8 weeks worth of benefits, AND you're disqualified for the 3 years.

    But please standby.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Ineligible Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    Yep, you are certainly ineligible during the time you were unable to work. The employment dept was willing to only assume three weeks post partum, but your letter from the doc says it's four (that's not helping). You lied on your claim forms and that willful fraud is what's really biting you on the further eligibly. You MIGHT with some appealing dodge the later sanctions, but you're definitely owing the money you were paid when you were not eligible.

    Normal postpartum issues are not qualifying for disability either.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Unemployment Denied Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    Per the EDD,
    Quote Quoting Eligibility for Unemployment During and After Pregnancy

    The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), 26 USC 3304 (a) (12), provides that "no person shall be denied compensation . . . solely on the basis of pregnancy or termination of pregnancy."

    There is no provision in the Calif. Unemp. Ins. Code pertaining to the availability of claimants who are pregnant. Consequently, availability under such circumstances must be determined in the same manner as all other availability issues. The claimant must be ready, willing, and able to accept suitable employment. If restrictions are placed on acceptable employment, the claimant must show good cause for the restrictions, and a substantial field of employment must remain open to the claimant.

    If, due to pregnancy, the claimant voluntarily leaves work, refuses work, is reluctant to seek work, or places unreasonable restrictions on acceptable work, an availability issue exists under Section 1253(c). However, if the claimant demonstrates a willingness to work without any restrictions, she is presumed available.

    This concept was further enforced as a result of the Cathy Gunn case wherein the court found that because the claimant's unemployment was not due directly to her pregnancy, she had placed no additional restrictions on her availability, and she was willing to seek employment in her usual occupation for which there was a substantial remaining labor market, she should be considered able to work.

    Employers Unwilling to Hire Pregnant Woman

    The fact that employers may not be willing to hire pregnant women, of itself, is no bar to holding a pregnant woman available for work. For example, in P-B-197, the claimant, a general office clerk, was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Because employers in the area were generally unwilling to hire applicants who were noticeably pregnant, the field office policy was to withhold referrals in such cases. However, a labor market existed for clerk-typists in the area and the claimant was willing to accept this work. The Board held that the referral policy of the field office did not render the claimant unavailable since a labor market existed and she placed no restrictions on suitable work.

    Since employers in certain industries may be reluctant to hire pregnant women, consideration should be given to the claimant's occupational skills and employer attitudes when assigning such a claimant's seek work plan.

    Post-Pregnancy Eligibility

    While some women can and do return to work soon after the birth of their child, usually the claimant will refrain from accepting immediate employment either through preference or by orders of her doctor.

    P-B-69 discussed the case of a claimant whose doctor would not release her to return to immediate work. The claimant was in continued claim status at the time she entered the hospital on April 10 to give birth. Her baby was born two hours later. When the claimant was released from the hospital on April 12, she felt able to return to work. The claimant certified for benefits for the weeks ending April 12 through May 3 without reporting her hospitalization or the birth of her baby. At the appeal hearing the claimant presented a doctor's statement dated August 12, which said the claimant could have returned to work May 26. In determining that the claimant was not able to work during the period in question, the Appeals Board stated:

    ". . . [T]he claimant has conceded that she was not able to work or at least available for work each regular working day in her usual occupation as an executive secretary during the week beginning April 6, when she was hospitalized for the birth of her child. The claimant contends, however, that she was able to work immediately thereafter and . . . certainly took some action consistent with this contention; she reported in person to the Department and sought work. Nevertheless, an immediate return to work would have been contrary to her doctor's recommendation at the time the claimant left the hospital on April 12. The claimant's inability to work was in effect subsequently confirmed by her doctor in his statement of August 26, that the claimant could have returned to work May 26 . . . evidence supports a finding that the claimant, despite her aspirations, was not able to work . . . the week beginning April 6, through the week ending May 3."

    Any presumption that a claimant is not able to work immediately following childbirth, is rebuttable by medical verification that the claimant is able to return to work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Unemployment Denied Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    The 8 weeks penalty is for making the false statement on 3 weeks worth of claim forms. Depending on the spread of the 4 days from the doctor's note, that can be reduced from 3 weeks to 1 or 2 weeks depending on if it crosses Sat and Sun. The big portion of the penalty is from the 1st week, and then they tack on a little more for each subsequent week.

    The 3 year reference is how long the state will attempt to get the penalty from you.

    If your doctor knew why you were getting the letter, he might think he was doing you a favor by putting 4 days, and it could be that you were immediately able to return to work after the delivery, and you should ask about that. Just because you might not have wanted to return to work doesn't mean that you couldn't have.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Unemployment Denied Because I Didn't Report That I Was Pregnant

    Perhaps OP was planning on dropping the child on her lunch hour, if she had been working.

    (sorry had to say it. I saw the 4 days)

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