At Browne House Law we’ve talked to scores of folks who have had trouble getting their unemployment compensation benefits. As we’ve written before, when COVID-19 hit, the folks in Washington took steps to make unemployment easier to get and increase the benefit. But too many of those out of work in Alabama have not been able to get the benefits they are due under the law.
What if my Claim is Delayed?
Alabama law says a decision on your claim “shall be made promptly.” However, many claimants have been waiting for weeks or months for a decision. If you have not received a decision on your claim call the Department of Labor early and often.
It is likely that you won’t get through, that your call will be dropped, or you’ll have to leave a message. Keep notes of all your calls to the Department including the date and time of each call. If you do get through ask for an explanation. If you don’t get through, your notes may help you later on.
Always be kind to those working on your claim. Folks at the Department of Labor are overworked. When COVID-19 hit, Alabama’s unemployment system worked hard to keep up. But it needs more resources from Montgomery to process all the COVID-19 claims.
Be Sure to Report Each Week.
No matter what, you need to be reporting each week on your job status. If you have trouble reporting, or if it won’t let you, take a screen shot and save it. Call in to the Department even if you can’t get through. Keep notes with the date on it about your efforts.
What to do if you’re denied.
If you are denied benefits you should receive a letter in the mail. That letter has crucial appeal rights with instructions you need to follows. Here’s a few things to do if you receive a denial of benefits from the Alabama Department of Labor:
- Be sure to keep that envelope. Sometimes letters can be postmarked days after the date on the letter;
- Note what day you received the letter. With the postal slowdown, you could receive your letter more than a week after its mailed;
- Appeal! When you appeal it must be in writing. If you fax it, be sure to get confirmation it went through; and
- Keep copies of everything: correspondence, screenshots, notes from phone calls.
How do I Get Help?
There are a number of ways to work to advance your case:
- Resend documents requested by the Department of Labor, like income or other requested information, that might be holding up your claim. Send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of anything you mail or fax to the Department of Labor.
- Write to your state representative and state senator. Whether they share your views or not, if you’re having trouble getting help from the Department of Labor, your state representatives want to know. They need to know. Only they can give the Department the resources it needs to process claims. Click here to find your Alabama legislators.
- Contact the lawyers at Browne House Law. We help claimants with appeals hearings and fight denials.