Attorney Tara Knight was featured on WTNH’s “Ask the Lawyer” segment speaking about unemployment benefits.
Read Attorney Knight’s answers to the most frequently asked questions about unemployment below and watch her WTNH segment here.
Connecticut, like all states, provides unemployment insurance, which is temporary income for people who have recently lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are either looking for new jobs or are in some sort of job training.
In order to qualify for unemployment, you must have worked in Connecticut during the past 12 to 18 months and earned at least a minimum amount of wages as determined by certain guidelines. Additionally, you must be either unemployed or under-employed. You also have to be able to work and be available for full-time work. You must be actively seeking a job or be involved in job training services. Finally, you must be diligent in filing your claim on a weekly basis.
If you quit your job you typically are not eligible for benefits. However, if there are extenuating reasons for leaving such as quitting to care for a sick or disabled spouse or child, you may be eligible to collect for a period of time.
Also, if you quit your job for good cause caused by your employer, you may be eligible for benefits. If there is a dispute as to whether or not you were compelled to leave your job because of the fault of your employer, there will be a hearing conducted. During the hearing, your employer may be present. You must establish to the satisfaction of the hearing officer that there was a good reason for you leaving.
If you were fired for a legitimate reason, you will not get unemployment benefits. Examples of good cause for being fired include willful misconduct in the course of your employment. Committing a felony or stealing during your employment period will make you ineligible, as well as participating in any legal strike or being sentenced to over 30 days in prison. Additionally, failing a drug or alcohol screening may make you ineligible to collect benefits. At the hearing, it will be your employer’s burden to prove that there was willful misconduct on your part.
A claim needs to be filed as soon as you are let go from your employment. The State of Connecticut has a website which allows you to file a claim online. It also provides phone numbers for you to call in a claim. During your call, be prepared to provide detailed information, such as your address, your Social Security number, basic personal information, information on the jobs you’ve worked in the last year and a half, and the reason you are no longer working for your last employer.
This program is funded from taxes. The amount you will receive depends on the wages you’ve earned during a specific period of time. Normally the maximum number of weeks a person is eligible for unemployment is 26 weeks.
Filing a fraudulent unemployment claim is a crime. There is a special unit out of the Chief State’s Attorney’s office in Rocky Hill, CT whose job it is to ferret out the abuses and arrest people who are making fraudulent claims.