What is unemployment insurance?
The unemployment insurance program pays cash benefits to workers who are laid off and are working part-time or haven’t found another job. If you quit your job, you can only get unemployment if you quit because your employer mistreated you or did something else wrong. You can’t get it if you have to stop working for personal reasons or because you are sick.
Unemployment benefits usually last for up to 26 weeks.
You have to look for a job while you are getting unemployment benefits. You have to report to the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) each week about your job search. You have to take a job you are offered if it matches your skills and experience.
How do you apply for benefits?
Call the DOL ClaimCenter at 1-877-214-3330. Call as soon as possible after you are laid off. An intake worker will take your claim over the phone. You will have to give information about yourself and your work history.
Or you can apply online.
DOL will review your claim. They will notify the employer who laid you off. The DOL will send you a determination letter that tells you if you will get unemployment benefits.
How do you appeal if your claim is denied?
If you are told you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, you can appeal. You can find information about how to appeal at the bottom of the second page of your determination letter.
To appeal, send a letter to DOL less than 30 days after you get your determination letter. Tell them you want to appeal. You must keep looking for a job and report to the DOL about your job search each week while you are waiting for the Appeals Referee’s decision.
There is more information about how to appeal here.
What happens in an appeal?
An Appeals Referee will review your claim and denial. You will have a hearing with the Appeals Referee by telephone conference call. The employer who laid you off will also be on the call. The call will be recorded. Both you and the employer will be able to testify under oath about what happened, submit documents to the Appeals Referee, and ask other people to testify. All of this information will be considered by the Appeals Referee, who will decide if you should get benefits.
If you want to appeal your unemployment decision you may be able to get help from Vermont Law Help at 1-800-889-2047.