Unemployment Insurance Explained

Unemployment Basics: Understanding Unemployment Insurance Benefits

If you are reading this, you may be a recently unemployed worker or an employer who wants to know more about the unemployment insurance process. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the right place. 

Understanding the specifics of Unemployment Insurance, or UI, will help you anticipate an employee’s eligibility for benefits and know what to do if the State of Arizona has recently rejected a claim for benefits. Unfortunately, very few attorneys have significant experience in UI cases and may be hesitant to take them on. At Counxel Legal Firm we hope to shed some light on the process and help you choose the best course of action.

What is Unemployment Insurance?

In Arizona, unemployment insurance (or UI) is money paid to someone who has recently become unemployed. The money comes from a special UI fund (a trust account called the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund) that all Arizona employers pay into with their taxes. When an unemployed worker obtains UI benefits, the employer’s trust account is charged, and the employer’s future tax rate will increase. 

One of the biggest myths in employment law today is that a worker who voluntarily quits his or her job will not be eligible or qualified for UI benefits. That is not true. Eligibility for UI benefits is more nuanced than that, bringing into consideration the reasons for a worker’s separation from their employment. Arizona’s Department of Economic Security (DES) will examine each case individually to determine whether the worker qualifies for benefits. This is where having a team of experts on your side will come in handy!

Another common myth is that part-time employees are not eligible for UI benefits. Again, that is not true. Partially employed individuals may be entitled UI benefits, but the amount may be adjusted if their wages were less than the weekly benefits amount.

For Employers: Understanding Your Trust Account and Tax Liability

The purpose of UI benefits is to provide temporary relief to a recently unemployed worker through a small amount of money. Broadly speaking, the Department of Economic Security (or DES) will provide that money only to people who have been unemployed through no fault of their own who are also actively able and available to work.

Employers pay into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund on a quarterly basis through their taxes. These taxes are called FUTA, which refers to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. The amount you pay is a percentage (called experience rating) based on the number of claims paid out to former workers.

This can become especially complicated if a former employee worked for multiple employers. The good news is that the charges to an employer’s account are pro-rated by percentage, so if your business paid 75% of the worker’s total wages, your experience rating will incur only 75% of the charges.

If your former employee has wrongly obtained UI benefits, contact Counxel Legal Firm today. Their use of UI benefits will be charged to your account, which will end up costing you far more in the long run than fighting the case now.

Eligibility for UI

When an unemployed worker files for UI benefits, that person becomes a claimant. DES will examine a claimant to determine whether they are eligible for UI benefits, which requires both monetary and nonmonetary eligibility.

Qualification for Unemployment Insurance

The Department of Economic Security is thorough in their analysis of the nature of each claimant’s separation from their last employment. They investigate the nature of the claimant’s separation from their last employment in addition to monitoring a claimant’s search for work following a benefits filing. It’s common for the DES to look into whether a claimant voluntarily quit with good cause or if they were discharged for misconduct.

Once a claimant has obtained UI benefits, the DES will also follow up to see if they refuse a job offer without good cause, if they don’t report money earned while receiving UI benefits, or if they conceal or misrepresent facts in a claim for benefits.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

If you have been rejected from UI benefits, contact Counxel Legal Firm immediately. Many rejections can be won on appeal, and Counxel Legal Firm has a team of skilled attorneys with years of experience advocating for you. The laws surrounding UI benefits cases are complex and each one is unique. As a result, only a few practicing attorneys have even a little experience in the field, and fewer still actually practice on a regular basis. At Counxel Legal Firm, our attorneys have handled thousands of UI appeals, working successfully with both employers and claimants.

Contact Counxel Legal Firm today to schedule a strategy session. We are eager to learn more about your case and advocate for you.

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