Miscellaneous MI 10

Time Requirements for Filing Claims

This section discusses time requirements for filing new, additional, reopened, and continued claims, and how these time requirements are computed. It also discusses good cause for extending these time requirements.

In P-B-84, the Appeals Board stated the purposes of time requirements:

One of these purposes is to assure prompt payment of benefits to claimants who attend to their benefit claims with reasonable diligence. Because the right to claim benefits must at some time be brought to an end if eventual clogging of the claims process . . . is to be avoided, the other purpose is to cut off the right to claim benefits of claimants who have not attended to their claims with reasonable diligence.

In order to assure prompt payment of benefits to claimants, the U. S. Department of Labor has instructed the states that intrastate first payments must be made by the fourteenth day from the week ending date of the first compensable week.

A. Time Requirements for New, Additional, and Reopened Claims

Title 22, Section 1253-2, provides:

"Week of unemployment" means the week of unemployment in which an individual registers in person at an employment office prior to the close of business on Friday of such week.

The Department applies this regulation to claims filed by mail or by telephone, as well as in person.

Example 1:

The claimant reported in person on Friday, February 8, and advised the field office that he had been laid off on January 28. He did not contact the Department earlier because he was busy looking for work. He wished to claim benefits from the time of layoff.

The effective date of the claim is February 3, the Sunday prior to the Friday on which he reported.

Example 2:

The claimant telephoned the Department on Friday, February 8, and stated that he had been laid off on January 28. He did not contact the Department earlier because he was busy looking for work. He wished to claim benefits from the time of layoff.

The effective date of the claim is February 3, the Sunday prior to the Friday on which he contacted the Department.

B. Time Requirements for Continued Claims

Title 22, Section 1326-6, provides:

(c). The claimant shall, to maintain his or her eligibility to file continued claims during a continuous period of unemployment, file continued claims at intervals of not more than two weeks, or such other interval as the department shall require, unless he or she shows good cause for his or her delay in filing his or her continued claim.

The Department communicates this requirement to claimants on the continued claim form, which shows the date the form is to be mailed. A Guide to Unemployment Insurance Benefits, DE 1275A, advises claimants to mail the continued claim form on the date shown on the front of the form; it also advises claimants that they may lose benefits if they mail the form more than 14 days after the last week ending date.

1. Continued Claims Received by Automated Payment System

The timeliness period for continued claim forms is 14 days from the last week ending date. The claimant is required to submit the continued claim form within the 14 days from the last week ending date for it to be considered timely. Because the automated payment system does not read envelopes or postmark dates, timeliness of forms processed through the automated payment system is based on when the claim form is received and scanned, not envelope postmark dates. An additional period of time has been added to the timeliness period to accommodate postal delivery. A continued claim is not identified by the system as untimely if it is received and scanned 17 days after the mail date, the date the DE 4581 was issued, or the date the last paid/unpaid week was issued. A reissued continued claim is not identified as untimely if it is received and scanned 17 days or less after the reissue date. When the 17th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the next business day is considered timely. Continued claims identified by the system as untimely are routed to the exception list. Refer to the Unemployment Insurance Manual, Timeliness of CC Forms quide, for procedures.

Example :

The claim form for the weeks ending August 7 and August 14 was received and scanned by the automated payment system on September 3, the twentieth day.

The claim is not timely, and a determination is required.

During the determination interview, the claimant reports that she mailed the form on August 31, the seventeenth day. A determination is still necessary to decide whether there is good cause to extend the time period which the claimant was instructed to meet. It is a valid nonmonetary determination.

2. Forms Received in the Field Office

If a continued claim form is received by an office that does not have scanning equipment, timeliness of the continued claim is based on the envelope postmark date or the date handed in at the office. A continued claim is untimely if the postmark date, or the date handed in at the field office, is more than 14 days from the second week ending date on the continued claim, or the date the most recent payment was made, if the most recent payment was later than the second week ending date. When the fourteenth day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the timeliness period extends to the next business day.

Example 1 :

The claimant brought her continued claim form for the weeks ending August 7 and August 14 to the field office on August 30. August 28 was a Saturday.

The claim is timely.

Example 2:

The claimant mailed his continued claim form for the weeks ending August 7 and August 14 to the field office. The postmark was September 12. The most recent payment, for the weeks ending July 24 and 31, was issued on August 31.

The claim is timely.

C. Extending Time Requirements

Time requirements for filing new, additional, reopened, partial, and continued claims may be extended for "good cause," based on the criteria set forth in Title 22, Section 1326-10(a). The Appeals Board and the courts have provided additional guidance.

Title 22, Sections 1326-10(b) and 1326-10(c), discuss termination of "good cause" for extending time requirements.

1. Good Cause

Title 22, Section 1326-10(a), provides conditions under which prescribed time periods may be extended.

The department shall, at the request of the claimant, extend the period prescribed for the filing of a new, additional, continued or reopened . . . claim . . . if the department finds that the failure of the individual to file any such claim . . . within the prescribed time was due to good cause, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(1) Failure on the part of the employer with respect to partial unemployment benefits to comply with any of the provisions . . . for work.

(2) His or her employer warned, instructed or coerced him or her to prevent the prompt filing of such claim, or his or her registration for work.

(3) He or she reasonably relied on misleading, incomplete, or erroneous advice given to him or her by personnel of the department, or relied on the failure of the department to perform an affirmative duty to provide advice reasonably necessary for the protection of his or her rights and the understanding of his or her duties relating to the claim or registration for work. Reliance is reasonable if all of the following conditions exist:

(A) He or she acted reasonably in informing the department of pertinent facts and of the need for specific advice as to his or her rights and duties.

(B) The department’s advice was intended by the department to be the basis of his or her conduct or he or she reasonably believed the advice was so intended, or he or she reasonably relied upon the department which failed to provide advice reasonably necessary to the protection of his or her rights or the understanding of his or her duties.

(C) He or she was not aware that the department’s advice was misleading, incomplete or erroneous, or through no fault or inexcusable neglect on his or her part was not aware of the true information concerning his or her rights or duties.

(4) Failure by the department to discharge its responsibilities promptly . . .

(5) Compelling reasons, or circumstances which would prevent a reasonable person under the circumstances presented from filing the claim or registering for work. Depending on the circumstances, this can include illness or injury of the claimant or any member of the claimant’s immediate family, a job interview, working, lack of transportation or the unavailability of mail service for a claimant in a remote area, a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake or a fire or flood, . . . or compelling personal affairs or problems that could not reasonably be postponed such as an appearance in court or an administrative hearing or proceeding, substantial business matters, attending a funeral, or relocation to another residence or area.

(6) The department assigned a claim filed to the wrong program.

(7) Mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. However, "good cause" does not include negligence, carelessness, or procrastination, in the absence of circumstances excusing these causes for delay.

Examples 1 and 2 below are derived from examples contained in Title 22, Section 1326-10(a).

Example 1, Injury of a Member of the Claimant’s Immediate Family Is Good Cause for Extending Time Period:

The claimant was laid off from his job on Friday. The following Sunday his wife was seriously injured and hospitalized. The claimant spent all week attending to his family’s needs and personal affairs due to his wife’s injury, and seeking day care for their minor child. The following week he filed a claim and asked that his claim be backdated to the Sunday following his last day of work.

The claim should be backdated. The claimant’s failure to file was due to compelling reasons and excusable neglect.

Example 2, Anticipation of Another Job Is Not Good Cause for Extending Time Period:

The claimant drew unemployment benefits and got a job. A month later, she was laid off, but she believed she would quickly get a new job. After three weeks of unemployment, she reported to the field office and asked that her claim be backdated to cover the weeks since she was laid off.

The claim should not be backdated. The claimant’s failure to file was due to her own decision to delay filing for benefits because she expected to be reemployed.

The Appeals Board has provided additional guidance for deciding whether prescribed time periods should be extended. Examples 3 through 6 are based on precedent decisions of the Appeals Board.

Example 3, Failure to Show Reasonable Diligence Is Not Good Cause for Extending Time Period:

In P-B-84, the claimant submitted a continued claim late because he wanted to bring the form in person and discuss his claim, instead of talking to someone on the telephone or mailing in the form. The Appeals Board said:

The claimant was aware of the requirements that he either report within the stipulated time or mail his continued claim . . . He failed to do either because he wanted to discuss his request in person with the representative of the Department. We believe that he fails to show reasonable diligence with respect to his benefit claim.

Example 4, Illness Is Good Cause for Extending Time Period:

In P-B-360, the claimant reported to the field office to file a new claim, was given an appointment to return, became ill, and was unable to keep the appointment. The Appeals Board said: " We . . . hold that the claimant had good cause for failing to report to the Department . . . for the balance of the period of her illness. . . . (T)he claimant is entitled to have her claim backdated."

Example 5, Good Cause Exists for Extending Time Period if Erroneous Advice Was Given by the Department:

In P-B-168, the claimant had exhausted his disability insurance benefits and had been released for light work. He telephoned his local field office four times, requesting information about unemployment insurance benefits, explaining that he was no longer able to do his usual work but had been released to do light work. He was told that he was not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, and was referred to the Department of Rehabilitation. Several months later, a friend advised the claimant that he might be eligible for unemployment insurance.

When he filed his claim, he requested backdating to the period when he first contacted the field office. In granting the backdating, the Appeals Board said:

Whether the claimant was specifically informed that he could or could not file a claim for benefits or whether he asked specifically about filing a claim we consider immaterial. . . . Where an individual inquires about benefits and receives a negative reply it would appear useless for him to take further action. . . . The general information given by the department was, in our opinion, at least misleading if not an actual misrepresentation of what the law requires. . . .

Example 6, Distraction Because of Personal Affairs Is Not Good Cause for Extending Time Period:

In P-B-448, the claimant submitted a continued claim late because he forgot about it, misplaced the form, and was occupied with a marital dissolution. When he finally found the form he completed and mailed it. The Appeals Board said:

. . . There is nothing to indicate that the claimant acted with care or diligence in attending to his claim. He was apparently the person who misplaced the claim form. He did not act promptly to locate it. Nor did he contact the Department to obtain a replacement. Inasmuch as the claimant did not show any care, we find that he did not have good cause for the delay in filing his continued claim. . . .

The courts have also provided interpretations of "good cause," primarily as it relates to extending the time period for appeals. The courts’ interpretations are applicable to decisions to extend prescribed time periods for filing claims. In general, the courts have held that the more substantial the delay, the more substantial must be the reason for the delay.

In Wang v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1990), the court held that the claimant’s former employer’s failure to advise the claimant regarding his right to file for unemployment insurance benefits did not provide good cause. The claimant delayed filing for two years because he decided that he was ineligible; he did not inquire of the Department regarding his eligibility.

In Amaro v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1977), the claimant filed an appeal more than a month late. She was upset about being denied benefits and did not read the information on the determination regarding her appeal rights. Later, she filed an appeal at the advice of a friend. The court held that the claimant’s disappointment and dismay at learning that benefits had been denied did not establish good cause for filing a late appeal.

In Gibson v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1973), the court held that where an appeal was filed three days late because of a clerical error in the office of the claimant’s attorney, good cause existed.

In Perez v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1970), the court held that there was no good cause for a five months’ delay which occurred because the claimant believed that the determination was correct.

In Fermin v. Department of Employment (1963), the court refused to excuse a three month delay where no particular explanation was offered for the late filing.

2. Termination of Good Cause

Title 22, Section 1326-10(b), providing guidelines for termination of good cause, states: "The individual shall file such claim . . . with reasonable diligence after the termination of good cause, usually not later than during the week following the week in which such termination occurs."

Example 1, Reasonable Diligence After Termination of Good Cause:

The claimant quit work on Friday, January 8, in order to provide emotional support and comfort for a parent who was dying. No leave of absence was available. The parent died on Friday, February 6, and the funeral was on Tuesday, February 9. The claimant reported in person to file a claim on Monday, February 15. Because there had been a change in base period effective Sunday February 7, there was a substantial difference in maximum benefit and weekly benefit amount. The claimant requested backdating to Sunday, January 10, in order to establish a base period with a greater maximum and weekly benefit amount.

The claim should be backdated to January 10. The claimant’s failure to file in January was due to compelling reasons. Although good cause terminated with the funeral on February 9, the claim was filed during the week following. If benefits are claimed for weeks between January 10 and February 14, an availability issue must be resolved.

Title 22, Section 1326-10(c), also provides guidelines for termination of good cause: "A first or subsequent . . . claim for benefits . . . shall not be valid if it is filed more than 13 weeks after the end of the benefit year (actual or potential) during which the week of . . . unemployment occurred."

Example 2, Claim Filed Beyond Requirements of 1326-10(c):

The claimant had filed a claim for unemployment insurance in July, collected benefits for ten weeks, and returned to work. The final continued claim was reissued because the claimant had not completed the name and address of the employer. The next year, in late December, the claimant was again out of work. While preparing to report to file a claim, the claimant discovered the reissued continued claim from the old claim, brought it along to the office, and requested payment for the two weeks on the form.

Benefits for the two weeks from July must be denied because the claim was submitted more than 13 weeks after the end of the benefit year during which the week of unemployment occurred.

D. Claim Abandonment

In P-B-448, the Appeals Board discussed a continued claim which did not meet the time requirements, and decided there was no good cause (Example 6, Distraction Because of Personal Affairs, above). In the same decision, the Appeals Board addressed the timeliness of claims for those weeks of unemployment immediately following the untimely continued claim.

The Appeals Board said:

Here, the claimant filed his continued claim statement one day past the date on which the Department would have accepted it as timely. Had he filed it on the day before, the Department would not have questioned his entitlement for those two weeks and for the succeeding . . . weeks. However, the claim was not submitted in a timely fashion and . . . the claimant did not . . . establish good cause. . . . It does not follow that the claimant should also be denied benefits for the succeeding . . . weeks. He was not late for those. . . . There is nothing to indicate that he did not intend to claim for those [succeeding] weeks. . . .

It is not our purpose to extend this ruling to situations where the claimant has abandoned his claim as indicated by a protracted delay, accompanied by an excuse which would indicate that the claimant did not intend to continue claiming benefits. Such abandonment could be indicated where the cause of delay is due to employment or situations where the claimant would be considered unavailable for work within the meaning of Section 1253(c) of the code.

When deciding eligibility for weeks of unemployment following an untimely continued claim, first decide whether there is good cause for extending the time requirements. If there is good cause, then the subsequent week(s) also meet the time requirements.

If there is no good cause for extending the time requirements for the untimely continued claim, ask the claimant if he or she intended to continue to claim benefits. If so, decide whether there has been a protracted delay in filing. In P-B-448, the Appeals Board did not define "protracted delay." For timeliness purposes, the Department’s policy is that "protracted delay" shall be considered six weeks from the last week ending date of the untimely claim form (or date the most recent payment was made, if the most recent payment was later than the second week ending date). The maximum period of time, from issuance to return following reissuance, within which a continued claim is still payable, is also 6 weeks.

If the delay is more than 6 weeks from the last week ending date of the untimely continued claim (or date the most recent payment was made, if the most recent payment was later than the last week ending date), and the claimant delayed filing due to employment, or due to circumstances which would lead to a disqualification under Section 1253(c), the claim has been abandoned. The weeks subsequent to the untimely continued claim do not meet the time requirements.

If the delay is 6 weeks or less from the last week ending date on the continued claim (or date the most recent payment was made, if the most recent payment was later than the last week ending date), and the claimant intended to continue to claim benefits, the claim has not been abandoned. The weeks subsequent to the untimely continued claim meet the time requirements.

Example 1, Succeeding Weeks Are Payable:

The continued claim was received and scanned by the automated payment system 17 days after the second week ending date on the continued claim. It was timely. The continued claim for those weeks was incomplete and reissued on the same day. The reissued continued claim was received and scanned by the automated payment 19 days after the date the form was reissued. The reissued continued claim was not received and scanned timely. The claimant stated that he mailed the reissued form when he did rather than earlier, as instructed on the reissued continued claim, because he was preoccupied with preparation for Thanksgiving and forgot about the claim. He stated that he was looking for work, was available for work, and intended to claim for all the succeeding weeks. The claimant’s reason for late mailing of the reissued continued claim did not constitute good cause, and benefits for those two weeks are properly denied based on UI Code Section 1253(a). The governing regulations are 1326-6 and 1326-10(a). However, the claimant’s delay beyond the end of the prescribed time limit was minimal (two days), and he intended to continue to claim benefits. There is no basis to deny benefits for the succeeding weeks.

The claimant’s reason for late mailing of the reissued continued claim did not constitute good cause, and benefits for those two weeks are properly denied based on Unemp. Ins. Code Section 1253(a). The governing regulations are 1326-6 and 1326-10(a). However, the claimant’s delay beyond the end of the prescribed time limit was minimal (two days), and he intended to continue to claim benefits. There is no basis to deny benefits for the succeeding weeks.

Example 2, Succeeding Weeks Are Not Payable:

The continued claim was received and scanned by the automated payment system 17 days after the second week ending date on the continued claim. It was timely. The continued claim for those weeks was incomplete and reissued on the same day. The reissued continued claim was received and scanned by the automated payment system 19 days after the date the form was reissued. The reissued continued claim was not received and scanned timely. The claimant stated that he mailed the reissued form when he did rather than as instructed on the reissued continued claim, because he was preoccupied with preparation for Thanksgiving and forgot about the claim. Further questioning of the claimant revealed that out of town guests had stayed for three weeks. He could not recall any work search contacts during the period of time his guests were in town. His guests left and, while he was cleaning house, he discovered the continued claim form. He then decided to mail in the form to see if it was still "good." He did not intend to continue to claim benefits.

The claimant’s reason for late mailing of the reissued continued claim did not constitute good cause, and benefits for those two weeks are properly denied based on UI Code Section 1253(a). The governing regulations are 1326-6 and 1326-10(a). Although the claimant’s delay beyond the date assigned was minimal (two days), the cause for delay was due to the claimant being unavailable for work, and the claimant did not intend to continue to claim benefits. The claimant had abandoned his claim. If claimed, benefits for the succeeding weeks are also properly denied based on UI Code Section 1253(a) and the regulations cited above. In addition, a circumstance exists which is potentially disqualifying under UI Code Section 1253(c). See BDG AA.

Example 3, Unable to Contact Claimant, Succeeding Weeks are Not Payable:

The continued claim was received and scanned by the automated payment system 45 days after the second week ending date on the continued claim. It was not timely. The claimant was unavailable for a scheduled determination interview.

The continued claim was received and scanned more than 6 weeks after the last week ending date on the untimely claim form, a protracted delay in filing. The claim has been abandoned. Benefits for the two weeks on the untimely continued claim are properly denied based UI Code Section 1253(a) and P-B-448. If claimed, benefits for the succeeding weeks should also be denied.

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Benefit Determination Guide