Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pennsylvania Service Center for Unemployment Claims - Who Are These People, Anyway?

I Have Filed for Unemployment in Pennsylvania - What is the Service Center?  Chester County Unemployment Lawyer for Referee Hearings

The Service Center is the place where claims for unemployment are initially administered.  The two main offices are located in Allentown and Erie.  The Service Center Representatives are reasonably well-educated people.  Perhaps the most important thing they do is make initial determinations into whether or not applicants for unemployment are entitled to benefits.

How Does the Pennsylvania Service Center Determine if I am Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?  Need attorney to Handle Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing in Montgomery County?

Service Center representatives are a lot like insurance adjusters.  The Unemployment Fund is largely comprised by contributions made by employers and employees throughout the state.  Thus, the Fund is analogous to an insurance policy - which is primarily funded by premiums paid by customers. 

Since Service Center representatives are like insurance adjusters, they often fall into one of two camps: 1) conservative with the Fund; or, 2) liberal with the Fund.  That is why two different people with virtually identical claims may receive different decisions from the Service Center.

The Pennsylvania Service Center Makes the Initial Decision as to Whether an Employee Was Terminated for Willful Misconduct.  What is Willful Misconduct Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?

You may want to take a look at my recent video discussing what willful misconduct is:

The Pennsylvania Service Center Makes the Initial Decision as to Whether an Employee Had a Necessitous and Compelling Reason to Quit Work.  What is a Necessitous and Compelling Reason to Quit Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?

You may want to take a look at my recent video discussing this issue:

I Received a Notice of Determination From the Pennsylvania Service Center - What Do I Do Now?  Lawyer Who Represents Employees at Unemployment Referee Hearings in Delaware County

The key thing that Service Center representatives do is collect information from employers and employees as to why the employment relationship ended, and then issue a decision, called a Notice of Determination, setting forth whether benefits are granted or denied.  The Service Center does this by gathering information from the Employer and, often the Claimant, after the claim for benefits has been filed.

The Service Center may ask the Employer and/or the Claimant to provide additional documentation and/or statements in the course of evaluating the claim.  It is after this evaluation process is completed (usually around 4-6 weeks after claim was filed), that the Service Center issues its Notice of Determination).

Either side then has 15 days to appeal the Notice of Determination, which automatically results in a Hearing before an Unemployment Referee.

NOTE:  Do not confuse the Notice of Financial Determination with the Notice of Determination.  Everyone gets an NFD, and it merely tells you how much in benefits you will receive if benefits are granted.

If no one files an appeal from the Notice of Determination, the decision of the Service Center becomes final.

NOTE:  If you do not appeal from the Notice of Determination within 15 days, any right you have to appeal will be lost.  IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FILE A LATE APPEAL FROM A NOTICE OF DETERMINATION.  That is why it is important that you keep an eye out for the NOD.  The Notice of Financial Determination always comes within 1-2 weeks of your application.  The NOD may come much later.

What Should I Say When I Appeal from a Notice of Determination in Pennsylvania?  Attorney Representing Employees on Referee Hearings in Philadelphia

If you (or the company) file an Appeal from a NOD, a hearing before a Referee is ALWAYS scheduled. ALWAYS. Why do I emphasize that?  Because you do not need to prove that a you have a right to a Hearing.  No matter what you state as the reason for your appeal, there will be a Hearing scheduled.

So, I always tell people to simply state, as the reason for appeal, "I disagree with the determination."  That is it.  Why?  Remember, it does not matter what you say, a Hearing will be scheduled.  Therefore, since anything you say in the Appeal can be used against you (as an admission against interest), and nothing you say is going to help you at the Hearing (you will have to prove whatever you say at the Hearing), there is nothing to be gained by providing facts and argument sin your Appeal.

Further, if you (unwittingly) say something harmful on your appeal, it can really compromise the ability of your lawyer to win the case at the Referee Hearing.

What Happens After I Appeal from a Notice of Determination Issued by the Pennsylvania Unemployment Service Center?

If an appeal from a Notice of Determination is filed, a Hearing before a Referee will be conducted in all cases.  Usually, you will get a Notice of Hearing.  Usually, you will get the Notice of  Hearing about 2-4 weeks after your Appeal is filed.  In most cases, the Hearing will be listed for within 2-3 weeks after the mailing date of  the Notice of Hearing.

When this occurs, the decision of the Service Center is basically annulled; it has no relevance or persuasive value to the Referee.  The Referee is in no way required to consider, much less rely upon or follow, the reasoning or decision of the Service Center representative found within the Notice of Determination.

Here is a video discussing what happens at a Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing before a referee:

Unemployment Lawyer Representing Employees in Unemployment Referee Hearings in Bristol, Norristown, Springfield, Malvern and Philadelphia

Representing Employees in Pennsylvania
Since 1991
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania.
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave…

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues…

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