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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I received a letter from the EDD called Letter of Determination. I

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I received a letter from the EDD called Letter of Determination.
I was laid off on July 15, 2013 and filed for uemployment benefits that same week. On 7/20/2013 I flew to Colombia (I hold dual citizenship) to visit my 90 year old grandmother who suffered a stroke. At that point I had not yet received any letters from the EDD. When I returned on 8/11/2013 from my trip I found a couple of claim forms that the EDD had sent and I proceeded to fill them out and stated that I had been available for work even though I was out the country. I did not think I was lying since I did look for work online extemsively while I was there and I bought a ticket that allowed to fly back to California if I had an in-person job interview or a job offer. I realize I was late sending the claim forms back. I then received a letter saying I was scheduled for an EDD phone interview. When I received the call the guy asked me why I had been late mailing back the claim forms. I went ahead and told him that I been out of the country visiting my ill grandmother but that I had been looking for work while I was there, had a flexible ticket, etc.
Now I have received this Notice of Determination that states "You are not elegible to receive benefits under CA unemployment insurance code section 1253A beginning 7/14/2013 and ending 7/20/13. You did not submit your claim form(s) for the week(s) of 72013 until 081913. Facts available to the dept do not show that you had a good cause for submitting your claim forms late. Sectiom 1253A provides-an individual for benefits in a week only if the dept finds he filed a claim according to regulations.
You are not elegible to receive benefits under CA unemployment insurance code section 1253 beginning 7/21/13 and ending 8/10/13. You could not work because you were out of town from7/21/13 to 8/10/13. Section 1253C provides- an individual is elegible for benefits in a week only if the department finds he was able to work and available for work.
You are not elegible to receive benefits under CA insurance code 1257A beginning 8/25/13 until you have filed a claim for each of 6 weeks in which you are otherwise elegible for benefits.
You gave the department incorrect information or withheld information, concerning your availability for work. ( i won't type up the rest as I assume you know the rest of this paragraph)

My questions: are they penalizing me for 6 weeks starting 8/25/13?
I am confused by that last part. Also, since I disagree that I lied to them should I send a letter of appeal explaining that I stated in my claim forms that i was available to work while i was out of the country because in my opinion i was. Now I have read that the EDD does not consider you available to work if you are out of town. I did not know that. So i feel I did not deserved to be penalized because
i was not giving them incorrect info or lying. I want to write them an appeal saying that I said I was available for work because in my opinion I was (these days its common for initial job interviews to take place on the phone and via skype.) plus as I mentioned I did look for employment while I was there. And that I was not lying. Do you think this will help? Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear about your ill grandmother and issues with the EDD.

To answer your first question, "yes" the EDD is penalizing you with a 6 week disqualification for allegedly submitting false information with regard to your availability to accept work. Disqualifications of this kind are common when the EDD believes it has been misled.

With regard to whether you should appeal this determination, the answer is absolutely YES. Unemployment Insurance Code Section 1257(a) provides an individual is disqualified for unemployment benefits if:

"He or she wilfully, for the purpose of obtaining unemployment compensation benefits, either made a false statement or representation, with actual knowledge of the falsity thereof, or withheld a material fact in order to obtain any unemployment compensation benefits under this division."

Under the particular circumstances you describe, it seems clear that you did not "willfully" intent to misrepresent anything, nor were you aware of the "falsity" of your statements because you were able to travel back to California for a job interview. Moreover, the absence of a wilful intent to deceive is evidenced by the fact that you voluntarily revealed to the EDD that you were out of the country. That's hardly something you'd do if you were attempting fraud.

The EDD doesn't have to revoke your disqualification pursuant to 1257(a), but it may very well if you articulate the arguments described above. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I pay you to help me write the appeal letter? I can email the draft I wrote and you can help with necessary editing. Please let me know if this is possibly.
Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Ana,

It would be my pleasure to help you do that, but unfortunately I cannot because to provide such assistance would constitute legal representation in violation of the terms of service of this site and the rules of my state bar. I am limited to answering questions about the law and assisting you in understanding how the law may apply to your particular circumstances.

I think the arguments you need have already been articulated in my answer above. It really should just be a matter of repackaging them into the proper format, if that helps at all.

Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance to you bearing in mind the limitations of what I can do through this online forum.

Very best wishes to you moving forward.

Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7530
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
California Employment Lawyer
7530 Satisfied Customers
Significant experience in all areas of employment law.