When you apply of unemployment benefits in Rhode Island, the Department of Labor and Training contacts your former employer to verify the reason for your job separation. If you were fired for cause, you generally can't collect unemployment from the state of Rhode Island. Both state and federal regulations exclude those who attribute their own unemployment from collecting benefits. The only way to receive compensation is to prove that your former employer did not fire you with just cause by presenting evidence to the DLT through the appeals process.
Fired and Unemployment Benefits
The reason fired employees can't collect unemployment benefits is that the federal unemployment guidelines state that only those who are unemployed through no fault of their own can receive compensation. Rhode Island, along with most other states, interprets this as excluding anyone who has been fired. If you are fired -- or terminated with cause -- it implies that you were the cause of your job separation.
How the DLT Verifies
Since you can't collect Rhode Island unemployment if you're fired, it may be tempting to claim you weren't fired on your unemployment applications. However, the DLT will contact your last employer to verify your job separation reason. Your former employer's payroll tax rate increases based on the number of former employees it has collecting unemployment. Therefore, if you were fired, the employer usually is very eager to tell the DLT and provide evidence proving it.
Filing an Appeal
The burden of proving your termination was for just cause is on your former employer. If they can do so, the DLT denies your claim and you will receive a notice of determination by mail with the reason for the denial. You can file an appeal by submitting a written statement by letter, fax or phone to the DLT within 15 days of the date on the notice of determination. You receive a notice of the appeal if th DLT grants a hearing where you can prove your case to the mediating referee.
Proving Your Case
To win the appeal hearing, you must submit evidence that proves you weren't fired for cause. If the DLT gave you the opportunity to submit evidence before your claim was denied, you have to resubmit for the appeal. This is important because the referee making the decision your case will only consider the evidence presented at appeal. You can do this by submitting written communication from your boss, notarized witness statements from anyone with direct knowledge of the reasons for your termination, or photographic evidence suggesting the separation had another cause.
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