Unemployment benefits in doubt

Here’s some information that might be a rude awakening for everybody who believes they can count on unemployment benefits if they lose their job. Last year alone, a record 20 million plus Americans collected unemployment benefits at some point, and maybe they took those benefits as a given. But we’ve learned that if you lose your job there’s no guarantee that you’ll be entitled to collect a check.

In fact, in many cases, employers use outside firms to process, and in many cases, challenge unemployment claims from workers who’ve lost their jobs. Those firms have come under increased scrutiny for their business practices and in some cases, they’ve been accused of filing baseless challenges. Need to Know’s financial correspondent Stacey Tisdale investigates this little known industry that can have a huge impact on the newly unemployed.

 

Comments

  • Jim K.

    Where have you people been for the last 35 years. Automatic Data Processing started doing this in southwest Ohio back in the mid 1970′s and early 1980′s. Insubordination and Misconduct were all an employer had to say to the state employment agency to get your bennifits denied. The deeper the econnomy went the more claims were denied. The state liked it because they didn’t have to shell any money out and the employers loved it because their Unemployment insurance rates didn’t go up. If you think that the states think it’s just insurance and the employers shouldn’t be upset about someone getting a claim TRY TELLING THAT TO YOUR CAR INSURANCE the next time you have an accident and they jack your rates thru the roof. Think about it. The old hands that have been abused and misused by the system know what I’m talking about. COME UP TO SPEED ON YOUR EMPLOYMENT STORIES. On the job training has been around a long time. It works untill the state money stops. VAOJT same way. Joint Training Partnership Act. VocRehab. and a whole bunch are nice ideas on PAPER. the skills testing—GATB—Meyers/Briggs–WorkKeys– They were supposed to measure where your skill level was at so an employer would know if you had the qualifications that he needed. It has become a joke. GATB was a test that if you didn’t have fast hands and no brain you couldn’t be sent out for an interview with a company even if that was the only job in the state. WorkKeys may have started out doing straight up testing, ( IE: no coaching ) but it has turned into a school that does nothing but teach how to get better scores on the tests. Now why would an employer use something that he knows is rigged to make the applicant look brighter than they really are? The jobs that employers send in to state employment agencys are supposed to be coded with WorkKeys scores ond other ways of knowing what skills an employer needs. The state employment offices are very lacking in people that actually know how to set the scores need for a specific job. I live in Oklahoma and the WorkKeys scores need for different jobs are all over the place. Most places wouldn’t even talk to you if you hadn’t taken a GATB test or taken the WorkKeys and KeyTrain batteries.
    Time to Start digging and find out what’s REALLY going on down at the local Unemployment Center.

  • UnemploymentMonkey

    Jim a real Claims Adjudicator will request the TPA or the Employer directly evidence of the misconduct and yes we can allow or deny the claim initially based on what we have on file. However this article is spot-on concerning the way TALX conducts their business. They ARE late submitting evidence ON PURPOSE and they file frivioulus appeals as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=530129275 Susan Nofi-Bendici

    Employers can and should contest unemployment claims if they believe their former employee shouldn’t collect. Presumably, employers pay TPAs to help them determine which claims have merit and which ones they should be contesting. As a former unemployment appeals referee, I could see that TALX and some other TPAs were routinely filing appeals indiscriminately without doing their homework or getting the facts from their clients. These appeal machines are to the unemployment insurance system what the “robo-signers” are to foreclosures. Kudos to “Need to Know” for shedding light on this important but invisible problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=530129275 Susan Nofi-Bendici

    Employers can and should contest unemployment claims if they believe in good faith that their former employee shouldn’t collect. Presumably, employers pay TPAs to help them determine which claims have merit and which ones they should be contesting. When I worked as an unemployment appeals referee and decided unemployment appeals, I could see that TALX and some other TPAs were routinely filing appeals indiscriminately without doing their homework or getting the facts from their clients. These appeal machines are to the unemployment insurance system what the “robo-signers” are to foreclosures. Kudos to “Need to Know” for shedding light on this important but invisible problem.

  • Anonymous

    two FROZEN dinners? if time was of the essence, she should have grabbed some fruit.
    In Mississippi it states “lost job through no fault of your own” … which means if you’re fired, you receive no benefits.
    that said… TPA’s add to the cost of products… needlessly… i truly doubt that the benefits received are greater than the cost of hiring the TPA’s. just another hoop in the bureaucratic nightmare for workers to jump through.. sooooo, TPA’s — GET A REAL JOB… oh yeah, there aren’t any, most have been outsourced.

  • Lmwilker

    We believe this happened to my husband. He worked for an online university that shares the same name as a book wriiten by Henry David Thoreau. He had been teaching classes but some of those classes were discontinued and others were changed to require a Ph.D to teach (he has an MLS) so he was out of a job. He was unemployed for 5 1/2 months and didn’t apply for unemployment untill every last little bit of our little bit of savings were used and it was an extremely stressful and scary time until he got another job. Well, almost a year later his ex-employer came after him to repay about $2,500 in unemployment benefits. When he called his old supervisor about it his supervisor was shocked and recalled that rather than quitting my spouse wept when his job disappeared. Still, the lawyers kept up the case up until the point where they were actually supposed to be present for the telephone conference with the Judge. It was incredibly stressful and I truly believe they were just hoping that my spouse would fail to respond to the papers, or not follow up, as I suspect many people in this kind of situation might, so they could collect on a technical default judgment. I really think there should be some consequences for companies that file this sort of frivolous complaint. Severe consequences.

  • Kentucky

    I lost my job through no fault of mine. I have had to appeal for my unemployment. 6 weeks to get date for appeal. Then phone problems theirs not mine another 7 weeks. Now refree out due to emergency another 2 weeks. How long can this go on? My last pay check was June 30.

  • Oblio

    Hang tough. They’re trying to get you to commit suicide. Don’t do it because then they win.

  • Oblio

    Well, for starters I am going to BOYCOTT TARGET SPECIFICALLY. And I have just sent this site to 8 radio stations, persons I know who will get the story out. Too bad PBS doesn’t have the audience radio has. People can carry a radio, but not a TV when they’re out and about.

    We need to get this appeal process out of the unemployment forum completely.
    By the way? They do the SAME THING TO DISABLED PEOPLE who are sick, down on their backs unable to care for themselves, they run the appeals and lack of support out for 5 years average. Meanwhile the sick and disabled become homeless street people.

    How do I know? Personal history, combined with observations of others. It happened to me and to each and every disabled person I have spoken to.

  • John

    Summer of 2007 I was laid off. The office manager got laid off a couple months later. WA state unemployment sent both of us a letter saying we were terminated and in danger of being penalized for fraud. TALX was to blame, and it was the same case manager who screwed us. We got it fixed but it was scary and somewhat time consuming. Immediately contact your previous employer, get them to contact the Third Party Administrator (TPA), contact the TPA case manager and advise them what you are doing and to notify you with their corrected form. Always fill out any state unemployment questionnaire forms but remember to include copies of any documentation showing corrections from your employer and the TPA and note the fact whichever third party administrator misrepresented you to the state (you will have to repeat this fact over and over and the questions are repeated and detailed). Copy all this, fax and mail certified or registered mail, sit tight for a couple of weeks and you should be okay. Meanwhile, I don’t know who should be contacted at the state or federal level, good luck with that.

  • T.N.

    I worked for a company out of Dallas, TX called Pinnacle Technical Agency. It was a temporary/contract agency which provided services for various companies. I worked for AT&T. This temporary agency acted very unscrupulous with their employees. They would have managers pad the files every so many months writing everyone up for anything only to “fire” 50% of their staff when the work became slow and then fight everyone’s unemployment on miscnduct. Employees, no matter how hard they worked, were treated as criminals when they left the company. The company mgmt would also send emails with erroneous information to follow and then fire employees for following it.

    Well, imagine my suprise when I came across this video. Barnett Associates Unemployment and Verification Specialists fought my unemployment and I have won at the initial level. In Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission decides by looking at all the evidence and even though the company alleged “misconduct”, fortunately, for me, Texas listened to the evidence and decided against them. It surely didn’t help that they could also see this company has terminated over 50% of its workforce in a matter of weeks, but they were all “fired” not laid off… What a lie.

    In my case, I met my metrics. Worked hard and was constantly recognized by company mgmt for a job well done but I was caught up in a “managed layoff” which is basically another way of saying “I was fired when pretty much everyone else was” but the company lied like they had fired me (and everyone else) for misconduct.

    I was placed on a job without training and then the first mistake the company said they found they stated it was misconduct. Now I am gearing up for an appeal since that seems to be all Barnett Associates does.

    What a shame. You work hard for a company and they abuse you and disparage your character once you leave just to save a few bucks. Shame on them. They hope you won’t meet the challenge so that they win by default.