An issue is something that can affect your eligibility for UI benefits. An issue may arise when you file your claim or at any time during your claim. Once an issue is established, your benefits may be delayed or suspended pending a determination on your eligibility. The service rep will issue a determination based on all the facts presented and on the requirements of the Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Law. You have the right to appeal any determination with which you do not agree.
If the determination is in your favor, you will receive benefits. If the decision is not in your favor, you may be ineligible for unemployment insurance or your benefits may be temporarily suspended or reduced unless that determination is overturned on appeal.
It is important that you keep signing for your benefits until the issue is resolved, so that if it is resolved in your favor, your checks will be sent to you automatically.
Issues can be created when:
- you file your initial claim;
- you reopen your claim; and
- there is a change in status as reported during your weekly eligibility filing.
When You File an Initial Claim
There may be an issue on your claim that requires a determination when:
1. You or your employer/s report the separation reason as anything other than a "layoff." An issue will be created if you or a former interested party employer report your separation reason as a "voluntary quit," "discharge," "labor dispute," or "other."
(Quitting your job or being fired does not automatically mean that you are not eligible for UI benefits, but it will create an issue that must be resolved by a service representative.)
The service representative will interview both you and your former employer to determine whether you quit for a good reason attributable to your employer (or for an urgent, compelling or necessitous personal reason) or were discharged for good cause.
2. You would not be able to work if you were offered a job. The law requires that claimants must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work.
Personal, domestic, medical or other reasons that would prevent you from accepting work on any shift that is customary to your usual occupation may disqualify you for the weeks for which you are not able to work or look for a job.
3. You are on a leave of absence from any employer. When you are on a formal leave of absence for instance, maternity leave you are not eligible for UI benefits according to the law. This is because you have a job to which you can return and are not considered unemployed.
4. You are or will be receiving "other pay" such as severance pay.
5. You are receiving Worker's Compensation. You may qualify for benefits if you are on partial disability or when you are again able to resume an active work search and able to return to full-time employment.
6. You are a member of a corporation from whose employment you have been separated.
7. You have applied for or are receiving a pension or social security.
8. You are self-employed.
9. You are not a U.S. citizen and are not able to provide documentation of authorization to work.
10.You worked for a business within the last 18 months, which was owned or partly owned by you, your child, spouse or parent.
While You are Collecting Benefits
Whenever you file weekly either using TeleCert or WebCert, you will be answering several questions for each week you claim benefits. An issue may be created if your responses indicate a change in status during any week claimed. If so, you will receive a message that additional information is required in order to process your claim and that you must call the TeleClaim Center.
You may also be required to speak to a service representative if you:
1. Fail to complete your work search logs or submit them for review, if required.
2. Have a potential overpayment.
3. Request a predate on your claim. This means that you are asking to have your claim be effective on an earlier date.
A service representative will interview you, make a determination based on the law and give you a detailed explanation of its impact on your eligibility for benefits. You and your employer have the right to appeal within 10 days from the date the determination is mailed.
Here's How the Process Works
You will talk by telephone to a service representative located in the TeleClaim Center. The service representative has the responsibility for collecting all of the relevant facts and making a determination on your eligibility. If the issue created on your claim involves an employer for instance, because of the conditions under which you left a job the service representative will talk to both you and your employer, who is considered an "interested party" to your claim.
If the issue on your claim does not involve the employer for example, you have not reported to DUA for review of your work search activities the service representative will not need to speak to your former employer.
You should be aware that:
- Under certain circumstances, you or your employer will have the right to offer rebuttal additional information to what the other has said. This means that you or your employer may have a second interview with the service representative. This is particularly true if there is conflicting information about the same situation.
- The burden of proof rests with the party whose action resulted in your separation from your job. This means that if you quit your job, you will have the responsibility to prove that you had good reason for doing so. If you were fired from your job, the burden of proof is on your employer to show that the action was a result of your deliberate misconduct.
Prepare for Your Interview
Be sure to prepare for your interview with the service representative. While this interview is not conducted like a formal hearing, the information presented here will determine your initial or continued eligibility for benefits. When you have your interview with the service representative, be sure to give the information you think is most important, but that is also most relevant to the situation. You may also provide any written evidence that is relevant to your claim. Your service representative will complete fact-finding and make a determination on your eligibility. That determination will be mailed to you. If you are disqualified, you have the right to appeal and to have a hearing.