Do I need an attorney regarding alleged unemployment fraud?

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Do I need an attorney regarding alleged unemployment fraud?

I collected unemployment for 20 weeks a year ago. I received a letter from the state saying I owed all the money back. It stated I lied on my paperwork to collect unemployment. My former employer never returned calls to the unemployment office when I filed. I haven’t worked there In a year and a half. Now the former employer has filled out paperwork stating I was fired.I was not fired. It was agreed between us that I would train his wife to take over my position. I stayed for an extra third day to train his wife. Now, I’m being told he appealed my case and unemployment is saying I lied to get benefits. I have appealed this and am waiting for and appointment for my hearing.

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unemployment hearings can be difficult if you're not experienced with them and understand the nuances of the law--i.e. when did someone resign, versus was laid off or terminated, versus fired for cause; how does that affect unemployment eligibility? A lawyer would greatly help you and increase your chance of winning. The question then becomes is it worth it economically. Multiply your weekly UI compensation by the number of weeks at stake--that's how much money is involved. Assume that an attorney will most likely cost you between $1,000 and $3,000 total (preparation; creating and serving any documents; attending the hearing; any follow-up)--you can and should get a budget from the lawyer in advance, but $1k to $3k is a reasonable range. Then ask yourself if, given how much is at stake in unemployment benefits, is it worthwhile to spend $1k to $3k to increase your chance (but not guaranty; no lawyer can ever guaranty success, and do NOT hire any lawyer who does, because he or she is lying or foolish) of getting that money. That will tell you if it's worth hiring an attorney for the benefit he or she will give you.


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