Determining Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits

Author: Michelle Montoya, MLR, SPHR

Client question:

Who determines a terminated employee’s eligibility for unemployment benefits? Does the employer have any control over the unemployment claim?


Eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined by the state agency (EDD, Employment Development Department, in the case of California) where the employee files a claim. The employer has no control over the filing or determination of eligibility.

When an unemployment claim is filed, the agency will request information from the employer about the facts surrounding the termination. This is the time an employer can state the reason for the termination, give supporting evidence, and state a case for denying unemployment benefits. The final determination will be made by the EDD.

It is possible for a former employee that has been denied unemployment benefits to appeal the decision at a hearing with an administrative law judge. At that point, a representative from the employer, preferably someone with firsthand knowledge of the circumstances of the termination, will need to be present.

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