By Rachel Lint
The entire unemployment program process can be seen as a chain of events. One step leads to another and another. This can seem confusing and overwhelming but employers using the Unemployment Cost Management services from Equifax Workforce Solutions have our team of unemployment subject matter experts supporting them at each step.
When a separated employee files for unemployment, they are commonly referred to as claimants. At the state location where the claimant files, the state generates a claim form which is sent to all employers that the claimant worked for, typically within the past 18 months. As your third party agent, Equifax reviews claims received by state agencies. For some more simple separations we can generally respond without reaching out to you. For more complicated separations, we will send you a request for information. It is during this information gathering stage that details and/or documentation can be provided regarding the claimant’s separation.
After separation information is collected, the state sometimes needs additional information. If the claimant says they were discharged but you’ve reported that the claimant quit, the state needs to determine who is providing the most relevant and accurate information. The state may call Equifax Workforce Solutions for that additional information if they are our client, or they may send a questionnaire to the employer. The state will then utilize the claimant’s statement as well as all of the information provided by the employer to help them make an initial determination.
If the State renders an unfavorable determination, your Equifax Workforce Solutions Service Team will contact you to discuss next steps. If the decision is made to file an appeal, the state will schedule an unemployment hearing about 4-6 weeks after it is filed. An unemployment hearing is an opportunity for both parties to present evidence and testimony regarding the separation from employment. While most are conducted over the phone, some states do conduct hearings in person. The State Hearing Officer acts as a neutral party, taking all of the evidence and testimony provided and issuing a decision based on the unemployment laws of that state.
Hearing decisions are mailed to both the claimant and the employer. If an unfavorable hearing decision is received, your Equifax Hearings Consultant (or Hearing Representative if one was used) will contact you to discuss whether or not you would like to appeal to the State Board of Review. Unlike the unfavorable initial determination, an unfavorable hearing decision must be appealed with details about why there is a disagreement with the decision that was reached.
The State Board of Review is a small panel of individuals who will review the case in its entirety, reviewing all of the documentation in the file and listening to a recording of the hearing. No new evidence is presented at this time, so they are trying to ensure that the presiding State Hearing Officer fairly and uniformly applied the state’s unemployment law in making their decision. Each member of the panel will vote and the majority will become the final decision.
All of the steps in this process are on an administrative level, with the State Board of Review being the last stage. If the party who receives the unfavorable decision disagrees with it, the case will have to be appealed in state court or a similar venue.
The Equifax Workforce Solutions Learning Team offers live and on-demand training on Unemployment Cost Management services as an additional benefit for our clients. In addition, the Equifax Workforce Solutions Learning Team offers courses for our I-9 Management service, Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Management and The Work Number®! Please join us for a live training session or take advantage of any of our on-demand offerings at any time. Use the links below to check out our Course Catalogs!
Unemployment Cost Management
Work Opportunity Tax Credit Management
The Work Number