How to Prepare for and Act During a Hearing To Receive Unemployment Benefits

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You can either hire a lawyer or check with your unemployment office. They may have knowledge of a free legal service that may be willing to take your case.
If you use a lawyer or other legal service or if you are going to be representing yourself alone, you’ll need to have complete records of your job search activities, all the documents you were sent by the administrative judge, and a prepared statement of the facts as you understand them.
Consider bringing a friend along if you are going by yourself for moral support. Your friend can also help you debrief how you did after the hearing. Remember that you are in a court of law and you must be fully honest in your answers.
Be prepared–different states will have different laws about whether you can receive unemployment benefits if you were fired or if you quit. Most people think you can’t receive benefits unless you were laid off. This is untrue. Each state will have reasons that you can quit or get fired and still collect your benefits.
Keep your facts straight and stay cool and calm. Listen to all instructions that the judge gives you. Don’t bring up extraneous work problems that have nothing to do with your case. Dress well. Be respectful.
Prepare a closing argument that is factual and highlights the important parts of your case. Good luck!

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