In this time of economic recession and the elimination of work as we know it, unemployment benefits are a necessary part of the plan to get back to some economic solvency until another job is secured. One of the real misunderstandings that folks have about unemployment is that it is a "handout", and that it should never be used. It is complete nonsense. At any time you are working you are contributing to the pool of benefits. We never want to draw on that pool, but then again, it happens. So what to do when it happens?
Primarily, the best thing to do is apply for benefits immediately after being informed that you are being laid off. Some states will penalize or even disallow benefits if you do not apply in timely manner. Gather all your information as to dates, phone numbers and employer information. Fill out your benefit application completely and accurately. This will cut down on the opportunity to have to appeal in the first place. File the weekly claim on time as well. These two things will make receiving your benefits easier and there is less hassle. Also most state unemployment claims can be filed online. Take advantage of that feature. It saves time and perhaps an appeal later on. Remember to keep the confirmation processing number as well for each claim submitted.
If you should find that your case is up for review and benefits are denied, then the first step would be to contact the reviewer either by phone or mail. Have employer information ready and your personal information available. Answer any questions asked of you truthfully and accurately. Most of the time these questions are regarding amount of time work, or rate of pay. They may also ask questions about why you left, or if you were terminated. Again, honesty is the best policy. Document the time and essence of the conversation you had with the reviewer. Most of the time, issues are cleared up at this level, and your benefits will begin.
If for some reason your benefits are denied and reasons are given regarding employer issues, request a hearing. At the hearing you will be given opportunity to tell your side of the story and submit your documentation. Though may prolong your benefits, eventually the adjudicator will rule in your favor. The appeals process will help you if you remain positive and keep all proceedings and conversations with adjudicators and reviewers documented. Stay in the appeals process, and continue to look for employment. Continue to file a weekly claim as well. Consistency is key.
At some point the process will end. And you will have your benefits. It is a matter of keeping it together while looking for your next job. The benefits will allow you to get to the next step with some economic ease.