Are You Out of Work? Apply For Unemployment

This article was produced by LARCC in cooperation with CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Are You Out of Work? Apply For Unemployment

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Video: Workers' Rights: Wages

If you left a job, apply for unemployment. Do this as soon as possible.

You should apply even if:

  • You quit, were laid off, or fired,
  • You worked as an independent contractor or were paid cash,
  • You do not have any papers to prove you were working, or
  • Your boss said you are not eligible.

How do I apply?

Apply online at: www.ct.gov/dol, or

Call: 860-263-6785 (English or Spanish). Ask them for your local TeleBenefits number.

Apply right away! You do not need any papers or “pink slip” to apply!

What happens after I apply?

You will get a letter in the mail saying whether you can get unemployment or have to give more information.

  • If you were laid off, the letter will probably say you can get unemployment.
  • If you were fired or quit, the letter might ask you to give more information at a hearing.

When is my hearing?

Your letter will say the date and time of your hearing. If you aren’t available at that time, call the CT Works Center right away.

Important! If you do not participate in the hearing, you will not get unemployment.

Where is my hearing?

Most hearings are by phone. But if you want an in-person hearing, call the CT Works Center.

CT Works Centers

Phone and Fax

Hartford Area

Phone: 860-566-5262
Fax: 860-754-5059

Hamden Area

Phone: 203-230-3700
Fax: 860-754-5059

Norwich Area

Phone: 860-892-2253
Fax: 860-754-5059

What happens at the hearing?

A fact finder from the CTWorks Center will be in charge of the hearing. The fact finder will give you and your boss a chance to explain why you quit or were fired (the issue).

You and your boss can also:

  • Have witnesses who know about your case, and
  • Show proof, such as timecards or a doctor’s letter to prove your case. If your hearing is by phone, fax your proof  (860-754-5059) or ask how to mail it.

If you were fired, your boss must prove why you should not get unemployment.

If you quit, you must prove that you had a good reason to quit, and that:

  • You can work now and are looking for a job.
  • Quitting was the only reasonable thing to do.
  • Before you quit, you told (or tried to tell) your boss about the problem. Or you did not say anything because it would not have helped.

What qualifies as a good reason to quit?

Good reasons to quit include:

  • You had work problems that were not your fault
    • The job was dangerous or made you sick.
    • The job changed to have longer hours, less pay, or different job duties or working conditions.
    • Co-workers or supervisors treated you unfairly, discriminated against you, or harassed you.
  • You had a problem at home, such as:
    • You had to care for a sick family member.
    • You had to keep yourself or a relative safe from domestic violence.
    • You lost your transportation to get to work, for example, your bus service is cancelled, or the carpool ended, etc. (This does not mean problems with your own car.)
  • You have health problems
    • You can no longer do your same job because of a health problem, but you can do a different kind of job.
      Important!  You must show proof, such as a doctor’s letter. The letter should say:

      What your health problem is and the kinds of activities you should not do at work
      How your job affects your health and if you should continue in your current job or change to a new job
      What other kinds of work you could do despite your health problem

What if I don’t have a good enough reason for quitting?

If you don’t have one of these good reasons for quitting, you will not get benefits. And, you could also lose your welfare and SNAP benefits.

What if I do not speak or read English well?

Call the CTWorks Center right away. Ask them to provide an interpreter for your hearing.

What happens after the hearing?

At the end of the hearing, the fact finder will read the hearing report to you over the phone.  If there are any mistakes, ask the fact finder to fix them.

What if I don’t agree with the hearing decision?

If you disagree with the fact finder’s decision, you can appeal. An appeal is a new hearing with a referee, who will review your case.

It’s your chance to give new information that you did not give at your first hearing. The referee will decide your case then mail you the decision.

How do I appeal?

You have 21 days after the date of the fact finder’s written decision to file your appeal. You can file online, by mail, or fax.

  • Online: www.ctdol.state.ct.us/appeals/apfrmnt.htm, or
  • Fill out an appeal form. (Ask any CTWorks Center or Appeals Division office for a blank appeal form.)
  • Write a letter. Include your name, address, social security number, date of the fact finder’s decision, and the reason you think the decision is wrong.

Important! Keep a copy of your appeal for your records, and keep filing your claims every week during your appeal process. If you win, you will only get money for the weeks you filed a claim.

What happens after I file my appeal?

Within 30 days, the CTWorks Center will mail you a notice with:

  • The date, time, and place of your next hearing.
  • The issue the referee will ask about, and

Contact the CTWorks Center right away if you:

  • Do not get a notice within 1 month,
  • Want to change the hearing date, or
  • Need an interpreter at your hearing. 

Will the appeal hearing be like the first hearing?

No. The appeal hearing is more formal. It will be recorded, and you can only talk about the issue in your hearing notice.

The referee will:

  • Explain the appeal hearing process.
  • Review the report and documents from the first hearing.
  • Ask you, your boss, and any witnesses to swear to tell the truth, then ask you all questions.
  • Ask you if you want to say anything else. You won’t get another chance to add more information later.

Get ready for your appeal hearing!

Before your hearing

Central Connecticut: 860-344-0380

Other areas of Connecticut: 800-453-3320

  • You and any witnesses should arrive at least 15 minutes early. Call the phone number on your hearing notice if something happens that makes you late.
  • Organize the documents and other evidence that support your case.
  • Make notes about what you want to say to prove your case, and the questions you want to ask the witnesses.
  • Take pen and paper to the hearing in case you want to make notes.

During the hearing

  • Stay calm. Be polite. Do not interrupt.
  • Do not speak until the referee says it is your turn.
  • Say, “I do not understand” if you did not understand something.
  • Be honest. But don’t give information you were not asked about.

After your hearing

The Referee will decide based on the information from both hearings.

If you lose, you will not be able to get unemployment until you get another job and earn enough money to be eligible (probably 5 weeks).

If you lose, you can appeal to the Board of Review.  File your appeal by mail, fax, or in person. The Board will ask you to send in a statement about why you think you should get unemployment. 

Tips for your written statement:

  • Read the Referee decision carefully.
  • Explain any mistakes in the decision, Findings of Fact, or anything else you disagree with.
  • Send in any written information you couldn’t get before the hearing along with an explanation of why you didn’t have it for the hearing.  Example. A medical issue caused you to be fired but you couldn’t get your doctor to write a note about your condition until after the hearing.

The Board will read your statement and the information from your hearings and make a decision.  It could take up to 6 months for the Board to make a decision.  You probably will NOT have another hearing.

Remember! You only have 21 days from when the Referee decision was mailed to get your appeal to the Board!

Remember!  Keep filing your claim every week.

This booklet was produced by the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut in cooperation with Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and Statewide Legal Services.

The information in this booklet is based on laws in Connecticut as of 6/2013. We hope that the information is helpful. It is not intended as legal advice. For advice on your situation, call Statewide Legal Services or contact a lawyer. 

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

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