SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Losing a job can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life, especially when it happens unexpectedly. Attorney Shawn Willis from the Law Office of Cooley Shrair in Springfield joined us to share more about the employment law and how you can protect yourself.
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What should separated employees know about getting unemployment benefits?
Believe it or not, one of the most common misunderstandings I find is people do not apply for unemployment because they are not eligible just because they were fired. That is not the case. Most employees who are terminated are entitled to collect unemployment. Actually, employees who quit are generally denied unemployment benefits.
The basic requirement to be eligible is that you must have earned a minimum of $3500 dollars during the base period, which is usually the 52 weeks prior to separation. And you have to have earned at least 30 times your weekly benefit. The weekly benefit is 50% of the employee's average weekly wage during that base period.
How does someone apply for Unemployment benefits and how long can they expect the benefits to last?
Traditionally, you would have to go to the nearest unemployment office, which is not always very close hear in Western Mass, but the process has been simplified a great deal because you can now file a claim online. You should definitely take a look at it ahead of time to be sure you have all the required information ready to make it easier.
Benefits last 30 weeks, and in some case extensions can be allowed
What if the application for benefits is denied?
There is no need to panic if benefits are denied. The notice of denial should also contain a notice of your right to request an appeal hearing. Sometimes the hearing provides an opportunity for a claimant to provide missing or inaccurate information. If the denial is based on the employer's dispute the hearing will be more formal and evidentiary in nature. Since the general purpose of the unemployment system is to provide benefits to those who are out of work, the employer has a pretty high burden at that hearing and benefits are only denied for willful misconduct. That does not mean poor performance.
Employees should know that they are entitled to have representation at that hearing if they choose.
About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients' needs is the foundation of our mission statement.
At Cooley Shrair, family and business have always had a way of blending together. We know the importance of balancing the boardroom and the courtroom with the living room from time to time. We listen carefully to understand our clients' concerns and work vigorously with them to develop strategies for success. It's not just business, it's personal.
We pride ourselves in being the most responsive lawyers in the area, covering virtually every area of practice for individuals and multinational corporations across the United States and Canada. Cooley Shrair is recognized consistently for exceeding client expectations and providing competent, integrated, and cost-effective legal services.
Our attorneys are each distinguished in their respective areas of concentration and are complemented by a professional support staff. Cooley Shrair is a formidable opponent who fiercely advocates on behalf of our clients and we take pride in our commitment to provide unparalleled response and unparalleled solutions.
We're a family, and to us, that's very personal business.
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