Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Notice of Financial Determination - Everyone Gets One From the Unemployment Service Center and it Does Not Mean You Have Been Approved for Benefits

Does the Notice of Financial Determination Mean That I Have Been Approved for Unemployment Compensation Benefits?

You've received a document from the Unemployment Service Center called "Notice of Financial Determination."  This document tells you how much in unemployment benefits you will get.  "Yay," you think, "that means I get unemployment!"

No, it doesn't.  EVERYONE who applies for Pennsylvania Unemployment gets a Notice of Financial Determination, no matter why their employment ended.  However, it does not mean you are entitled to benefits.  Rather, it only tells you what you will get, if you are approved for unemployment benefits.
Always Complicated, and Proving Status at Referee Hearing
Requires Precise Game Plan
Note:  If the Notice of Financial Determination states that your claim has been denied because you do not have enough earnings, then you may have been misclassified as an Independent Contractor or Self-Employed. In such a situation, you need to appeal from the NOFD within 15 days, and at the ensuing Referee Hearing the issue will be whether in fact you were misclassified as an Independent Contractor.

I Received a Notice of Determination Saying My Claim Has Been Denied Because I was Guilty of Willful Misconduct - How Do I Appeal?

Appeal Within 15 Days and Dimply Say "I Disagree with the Determination"
It is the Notice of Determination that tells you if you are actually approved for benefits.  That usually arrives 4-6 weeks after the Notice of Financial Determination, and it tells you if you are qualified for unemployment benefits. Click Here for answers to the most commonly asked questions about Pennsylvania Unemployment, which explains how the processing of your application works.

The two most common reasons to deny benefits?  1) You quit without a good reason; and, 2) You were fired because you engaged in "willful misconduct" justifying a denial of benefits.

Most common area of confusion? Whether unemployment benefits can be denied for an employee who was fired for (alleged) poor performance.  Answer:  No (click Link above to learn more).

Understanding the Rules of Evidence and Burdens of Proof
Essential to Winning Before a Referee
If you get a Notice of Determination denying you benefits, you should appeal immediately (you have only 15 days to do so), stating "I disagree with the Determination."  Then you will get a date for a Hearing before a Referee

If you get a Notice of Determination granting you benefits, then the employer can appeal, and a
Referee's Hearing will be scheduled.

Usually, the Referee's Hearing will be held within a month of any appeal from a Notice of Determination.  You can have an attorney represent you at the Hearing, and in my view it's a real good idea to consider doing so!

That is so because, in a willful misconduct Hearing, the employer has the burden of proof, and understanding what that means is critical to success.  Moreover, Pennsylvania's rules of evidence, and particularly those relating to Hearsay, are in play at a Referee Hearing, and making proper objections can make or break your chances of winning.

Excluding Hearsay Crucial
Thanks for checking in, hope this was helpful.  I handle hundreds of Hearings a year, and I know how incredibly important unemployment benefits are.

Only One Chance to Get it Right
Since you only have ONE opportunity to introduce evidence, provide testimony and exclude any irrelevant or unreliable evidence (an Appeal the Board of Review is the next step, and it only considers the record established at the Referee Hearing in deciding same), and given that your employer has done many Hearings and likely knows how to win them, considering the retention of counsel is certainly a wise idea.

Helping Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991

Philadelphia Area Unemployment Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents claimants in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, Berks County and Lancaster County.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

If you are looking for an unemployment lawyer, and live in Paoli, Exton, Phoenixville, Downingtown, Coatesville, West Chester, Newtown Square, Nether Providence, Springfield, Aston, Broomall, Marple, Villanova, Lansdowne, Wayne, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Glenolden, Havertown, Haverford, Limerick, Oaks,  Lower Merion or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Experienced Lawyer for an Unemployment Hearing Before a Referee In Malvern, King of Prussia, Springfield, Bristol, Reading, Lancaster or Philadelphia?

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

Click Here to e-mail John directly; Mr. Gallagher has handled hundreds of Referee Hearings throughout Pennsylvania.

Thanks for checking in with us.


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