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Old 05-15-2009, 03:25 PM
Location: Bend, OR
11 posts, read 84,919 times
Reputation: 13


I'm going to make this short and too the point. I felt that I needed to leave my job and move out of state (Oregon to Arizona) to care for my mother after the death of her fiancée and her inability to lead a normal life. I'm being denied unemployment benefits (from Oregon) because this doesn't fall under their Good Cause reason for leaving. Is it just me, or is not caring for your parent(s) and the elderly not considered good cause? I left a great job with great benefits because it was my duty and obligation, not because I wanted too. I even discussed this decision with my employer and they understood why I had to leave. I have appealed this decision, but will I have a leg to stand on when the hearing comes around??
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:45 PM
1,313 posts, read 5,529,589 times
Reputation: 1915
Different states administer their own unemployment insurance programs, but there are some federal guidelines that are common to all. Due to the astronomical rate of of unemployment at the moment, the program is being stretched beyond capacity: we're paying unemployment compensation from funds that are essentially nonexistent. This is not a favorable environment for filing a claim of marginal validity.
In broad general terms, to be eligible for unemployment compensation you must have:

1.) been working
2.) become unemployed through no fault of your own
3.) be available to work
4.) be actively seeking and willing to accept any reasonable employment offer

In making "the just cause" argument, only #1 works in your favor, the others are going to be a problem for you. You may have needed an indefinite leave of absence, but you quit your job instead. If you can prove that you sought a leave of absence and your employer denied it, you may have an argument that is a little bit stronger (if you have proof of the denial). You are also apparently not currently seeking employment which might disqualify you no matter what. You have a right to quit your job, but not necessarily a right to have the public subsidize your living expenses while caring for your family member. You have to be available to work to qualify for unemployment benefits. The same goes for pregnancy and parental leave. If you're pregnant and able to work, yet quit your job, you will not receive unemployment benefits.

It's important to understand that the outcome of the hearing will be based on the express language of applicable state statutes and not on sympathy or merely an argument that sounds reasonable. Unemployment eligibility in Arizona is established under ARS 23-771 (see link below). The only argument that I can really think of is that your are not "able" to work under ARS 23-771(3). You are physically capable of working, but you are situationally "not able" to work because your time is entirely monopolized by the need to tend to an ailing family member. Emphasize that:

1.) You did not want to quit the job you had.
2.) Your unemployment was the result of a Hobson's choice: you had to quit your job in order to alleviate a family hardship.
3.) The hardship you sought to alleviate was not self-inflicted.
4.) You did what any reasonable person would have done when faced with similar circumstances.

I'll be honest with you -- it's a weak argument. There are tens of thousands of caretakers who are doing what you're doing and they're not getting paid with public money either. If you lived in Germany, you might get some compensation. The U.S. is weak on family security issues, though, and Arizona is a "right to work" state, so social justice law is particularly feeble there. If there are any medical orders that were written for hospice care for your mother prior to you quitting your job, bring them to the hearing. Good luck. You've got a tough row to hoe.

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Old 05-15-2009, 08:23 PM
3,970 posts, read 11,100,486 times
Reputation: 1576
The above is a good summary of how unemployment compensation works in most States. Oregon is very diligent on these issues, from my own personal experience. It has also been my experience that appeals are very hard to win with these type of issues. I believe States take action like this to prevent potential fraud, however absurd that may be. Best of luck, I also have a family member that needs care, I know how difficult these situations can be.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:33 PM
Location: Bend, OR
11 posts, read 84,919 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you for your reply's. I think the thing that frustrates me the most it that I am capable of working again, since my mother doesn't require 24/7 care. I am applying for other jobs daily and hoping to find one soon. Like you mentioned, I'm not trying to pull a fast one over on anyone, just trying to survive until I find another job! I've worked in Oregon for over 25 yrs, that should account for something you would think! UGH!!
Thanks again
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:19 PM
Location: Lakewood OH
20,202 posts, read 21,365,814 times
Reputation: 30607
I do not know for sure but I wonder if Oregon scrutinizes unemployment claims more closely than some states because of the many people who are in need and collecting it. I think the OP certainly is deserving of some sort of compenstation under the circumstances but I am afraid the unemplyment laws do not allow for this. One of the rules of collecting unemployment comp is that the person has to be available for work. So I think this will be a problem.

Best of luck in trying though, I really hope they or some other organization is able to help.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:56 PM
Location: Bend, OR
11 posts, read 84,919 times
Reputation: 13
I am available for work, that's whats so hard to understand why they denied me! Maybe the hearing will turn in my favor!
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:58 PM
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 18,982,997 times
Reputation: 5557
Had I been in your situation, mom would have been coming to live with me....!
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:17 PM
Location: Bend, OR
11 posts, read 84,919 times
Reputation: 13
Default Denied

I thought of that as well, but Mom hates the cold in Oregon and since I was renting and she owns, this made more sense. I just wish the State saw things differently when it comes to the elderly. No regrets though, no matter what the outcome!
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:58 PM
2 posts, read 16,090 times
Reputation: 10
While I was typing a message to you guys, the unemployment office called & said our appeal is denied & we have to pay back all the money my husband recieved to the tune of $3,000. So much for the hardship clause in Oregon! My life was on the line, my husband had to quit his job to get me out of the rural area we lived in to where my family is in Salem for my health & safety. I guess you just let your spouse die rather than leave a job to protect your family. Unbelievable! Please, if you find yourself in a situation don't do anything until you understand every aspect of the hardship clause. Better yet, just plan on not gettting unemployment.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:39 PM
Location: Bend, OR
11 posts, read 84,919 times
Reputation: 13
Just curious, do you remember the name of the judge you talked to at your first hearing? Was your husbands employeer on the line for the hearing? Did the employeer say anything to the fact about your husband collecting unemployment?
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