What Does Active Issues Mean for Unemployment?

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After you lose your job, you may expect to receive unemployment benefits. In some cases, those benefits can get delayed or interrupted if active issues appear with the unemployment claim. Active issues can happen with any claimant's unemployment claim in any state. Once an issue is established, you must work with the unemployment agency to resolve it.


Types of Active Issues

An active issue on your unemployment claim can be anything that affects your eligibility for unemployment benefits. If your employer disputes the reason you are no longer employed, that can be an active issue. Not being able to work, such as having a medical issue, is also an active issue because you are required to be able to work when receiving unemployment benefits.

However, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020 by President Trump in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, does make allowances for workers affected by COVID-19 or deemed high-risk.


Other examples of active issues include being on a leave of absence, receiving worker's compensation, receiving pension income, receiving Social Security income, not being a U.S. citizen, receiving severance pay and being self-employed. It's worth noting that self-employment is no longer a barrier to collecting unemployment insurance in most states. The CARES Act also gives states the ability to currently extend unemployment insurance compensation to self-employed and independent contractors.

Timing of Claim

Active issues can arise at any time during your unemployment claim. When you initially file your unemployment claim you may immediately have active issues, such as a dispute from your past employer regarding the reason for separation. Additionally, while you are collecting benefits you may have a different active issue arise that can pause or delay your benefits.


Effects on Unemployment Claim

When an active issue appears, you will get either a letter or a phone call from a claims representative. You will be told what the issue is and may be asked a series of questions. This is because the unemployment agency must investigate this issue to determine if your unemployment benefits can continue to be paid.

In some instances, your benefits may be stopped or you may be told that you need to pay back past benefit pay. Other times you may be told that all is well and your claim will resume with back pay for the period of time that your claim was paused for the investigation.


Resolution of Active Issues

You are always given a chance to contribute to the unemployment agency's investigation of the active issue. If your claim gets denied or stopped as a result of the active issue, you are given a chance to appeal the decision. Usually you only have 10 days to make the appeal.

Full appeal instructions are sent to you by mail and vary slightly by state. During the appeal process you will be interviewed and will need to state your case against the decision. If the appeal does not go your way, you are given on additional appeal chance.