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Unfair Unemployment Practices

I find it unfair that I am unable to collect unemployment while I pursue a new job. The situation is simple, I was a full time employee for two years and seven months as an Activities Coordinator for senior citizens at a county based facility. For that entire period, I put my heart and soul into the work to make sure the elderly were kept in good spirits and actively engaged both mentally and physically. I paid my taxes back into the system. My job even consisted of gainfully utilizing people on benefits from the state – ranging from food stamps, unemployment, etc. There were good people getting back on their feet through those programs, but there were plenty of low-lifes simply mooching perpetually off the system that amounted to nothing and will continue to amount to nothing.

When my husband took a new job in Maryland, it was obviously a requirement to relocate from New Jersey. The job certainly didn’t pay enough for me to remain on location as a separate household. And after being separated from my husband for all of 2005 because of his military service in Iraq, I had no intention of straining our marriage with further separation just to remain a New Jersey resident. For those three reasons, it seems pretty obvious that I was forced to resign my position at the organization. So I filed for unemployment while I looked to transition my EMS credentials from New Jersey to Maryland and become either a paid EMT or a paid paramedic.

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Figure 1: Unemployment Denial Letter (front)

117_article_3545_thumb_unemployment_denial_2

Figure 2: Unemployment Denial Letter (back)

Then I receive this letter in the mail from the New Jersey Family & Social Service Federation denying my claim for benefits. The reasons being that relocation is personal and does not constitute a good cause. I have a serious problem with this – especially considering that the job I had to leave involved working with so many people in (and abusing) the system.

Why should I be denied benefits when I’ve diligently paid my taxes to the government to fund these programs? Why should I be denied benefits when my most recent employment and all previous employments for the past 19 years show I have a work ethic above and beyond those people lazily parked in the system? Why should I be denied benefits when so many people with no intention of getting a job are able to keep mooching off my years of hard work? Why should I be denied benefits when I’ve paid for college, certifications and extra training to be a more productive member of society when the people in the program get money without having invested anything in themselves.

Is this fair that I’ve been denied? What is the fix for unemployment?

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It appears that is an appealable administrative decision. If you believe that you have grounds for an appleal, then go for it.

You will need to consider the folowing:
Did the decision-maker judge your case on its merits,
Was his judgement influenced by someone else. (he means he/she)
Did he consider everyhting that was relevant.
Did he consider one thing that was irrelevant.
Are you being discriminated against on: race; age; gender or disability.

Be careful not to ask for the judgement on grounds that are irrelevant, as are many of the points you raise: however fair they seem to be to you. The law opened the door only so far on this benefit and you can’t expect to open it further on appeal. I think you may actually have a strong case without using all that emotional stuff.

You do not need a lawyer for this. It is probably not even permitted. It should cost you nothing more than a nominal application fee.

My guess is that they get many cases like yours and have a policy to deal with them in this way. Such a policy is not permitted unless it is catered for explicitly in the relevant legislation or regulation. That policy in itself could be excellent grounds for your appeal because it could mean that the decision maker has been prevented from considering your case on its merits because of an inflexible application of policy by his superiors (or even just by him).

No, I am not a lawyer, but I have been in a position where I had to make appealable administrative decisions. I was given excellent training for this, and the grounds for appeal I have shown here (called natural justice) were made very clear to me. Government agencies hate to lose appeals like this becaue they create precedent, and result in black marks on their annual report (and also on the performance evaluations of the decision-maker). So they may even back off as soon as you ask for an appeal.

If on cosideration of these points you feel that you were treated unfairly given the requirements of the regulation, then you owe it to all the other spouses who will be in your position in the future to go through with an appeal. Please lay off the sob story though because it will hurt your case.

In your position I would simply state on the appeal application form that you believe that your case was not considered on its merits because of an inflexible application of an informal internal policy in relation to spouses who are forced to relocate to remain with their partners. You were “forced” to relocate because of an intolerable accumulation of adverse impacts on your family life caused by your spouse’s military service and subsequent employment etc. There is enough legal jargon in that simple statement to really scare them because they will know that they are dealing with somone who understands their rights. This is a valid ground for appeal straight out of the admin law text books in words that are is imprinted on the brain of the appeal tribunal judge.

Is this fair that I’ve been denied?

Yes, it’s fair.

The purpose of unemployment insurance is to help you through periods where you’re unemployed through no fault of your own. In particular, if a company “downsizes” because of an economic downturn, and you’re one of the ones dismissed.

You left this job of your own free will. Granted, you had very good reason to do so, but it was still your decision. You could have chosen to remain behind in New Jersey until the transfer of your EMS credentials is complete.

It doesn’t sound like your husband’s new job came as a complete surprise. The fact that you’d have to resign and lose the second income until you could find a new job must have been part of the decision-making process in deciding whether he should accept the new job, and at the point the move became a legitimate possibility, you could have immediately begun your job search, shortening the time you were without work.

That being said, send me a private message letting me know what county you’ll be living in. I might be able to help with the EMS stuff.

I know you don’t want to hear it, but you quit your job for your own personal reasons.

Unemployment is for when you get fired/laid off without cause.

Without cause means, basically, you didn’t deserve it.

Don’t show up for work for a week and wind up fired? No unemployment for you.

Stole money from the company? No unemployment for you.

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