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Denial of PUA Benefit upon ending claims

Discussion in 'Unemployment Insurance & Benefits' started by Robione, Jun 18, 2021.

  1. Robione

    Robione Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I'm confused and frustrated by my situation. I called the UI office to determine if there was any assistance available to me in May 2020. They told me to apply for regular benefits and due to my circumstances would be denied. (I quit my jobs.) After, file for PUA. I did. I received benefits for about 5 months. I then decided I would indicate on my weekly claim that I was no longer unemployed due to the pandemic. I thought this appropriate... as I had a job with my previous employer. This seemed to trigger many events which led to me receiving a denial of benefits retroactive to 02/02/20. (I filed my claim in mid-May.)

    I then decided to file the appeal. The only real evidence I had supporting my case was a letter from the company president indicating I would start work in late April/early May but they could not honor that date due to the pandemic. Six months pass and I receive the evidence exhibit packet in the mail. It contains my UI application (regular), and my two dispute requests. It does not contain the letter or the PUA application or the source of an email I submitted. I called UI Appeals many times. The correspondence received indicated to get whatever evidence as early as possible before the hearing. My focus was the letter.

    On the last call a few days before the hearing I described again what I was trying to submit. The woman READ THE LETTER over the phone. And indicated she felt it would be very helpful and bring it to the referee's attention. (Perhaps I am wrong but I thought its absence in the packet indicated it would not be looked at.)

    The referee never mentioned the letter at the hearing. I attempted to bring it up. She focused on my voluntary quit. Ultimately, that was her reasoning for reaffirming the non-monetary determination.

    I sought a bureau review and was denied because it is apparently the choice of UI to proceed if the referee reaffirms the initial determination. And their choice was "no," despite me describing my position in my request.

    Which leaves district court. I'm curious as to the attorney costs involved. The initial balance due with the initial penalties is over $13,000. Is it not "juicy" enough for an attorney to take on? How would I proceed to find someone under the student practice act? Any other advice? Do I have a case?

    My case is such...

    15 U.S. Code Section 9021 - Pandemic unemployment assistance

    (a)(3) Covered individual(A) means an individual who (i) is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits ... (ii) provides self-certification that the individual (I) is otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable State law, except the individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable, or unavailable to work because ... (gg) the individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job ... as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency; ...

    I'm not eligible for regular benefits. I quit. I was available and looking for work. ND UI seemed (to me) to ignore any "or" condition and was happy to deny me satisfying one false condition while needing all 3. Otherwise what is the purpose of using "or"?

    I worked in and was going to return to work to the oilfield. No one is hiring. The job was no longer available. Companies are laying off far before -$43/bbl. Is that "a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency"? I would think so.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You did not lose your job due to COVID-19 and you had no firm date to return to work that was affected by COVID-19.

    You're welcome.
     
  3. Robione

    Robione Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Would you say the same if you quoted:
    "... a letter from the company president indicating I would start work in late April/early May but they could not honor that date due to the pandemic."​

    What does firm date mean? A specific day, or the event would occur?
    (gg) the individual was scheduled to commence employment ...
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I would say the same. Tell me this: What would your start date have been if not for COVID?
     
  5. Robione

    Robione Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I left Company A in early December. It's not a big company but I wouldn't classify it as a mom-n-pop either. (My point is I knew management well, was on good terms, and things aren't so formal.) It became quite apparent early on when finishing my degree I would need to return. I was going to return after completing it. There was no issue with this.

    Oil hit it's low on 4/20. There was no need to figure out the exact date when they're laying off people in the same position. My job didn't exist at that point.

    I work for them presently, started at the end of September.

    It would seem pretty disingenuous (to me) if I had the forethought to examine the PUA law, discuss it with them and fabricate a specific start date. Perhaps I'm too naive.

    I have 4 days to file the petition. I take it you feel it is not worth it?
     
  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    If I were in that situation, I would be doing anything I could to not have to pay $13,000.
     

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