Summary: The Unemployment
Compensation for Federal Employees Program (UCFE) is administered by the
states under separate agreements with the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Under
these agreements, the states are agents of the United States and take,
adjust, pay, or deny claims for unemployment compensation. Based on wage and
separation information supplied by the Postal Service, the state agency
determines under its state employment security law the postal employee's
entitlement to unemployment compensation.
Benefit payments are made to former postal employees by the states under the
agreements between the states and the U.S. Department of Labor. The Postal
Service then reimburses the states through the Department of Labor.
Requirements for unemployment compensation benefits vary from state to state
in accordance with each state's employment security law. However, each state
law requires that a claimant:
1. Be unemployed or be employed less than full-time as defined by the state employment security law with earnings less than an amount specified in the state law.
2. Register for work and file an unemployment compensation claim at a local state employment security office.
3. Have worked a specified amount of time or have earned a specified amount of wages, or both, within a certain period.
4. Be able to work.
5. Be available for work.
6. Be actively seeking work.
7. Report periodically to the local state employment security office.
EXCERPTS FROM ELM 16.1, February 8, 2001
ELM 16.1, February 8, 2001 535
550 Unemployment Compensation
551.1 Legal Guidelines
The Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees Program (UCFE) is administered by the states under separate agreements with the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Under these agreements, the states are agents of the United States and take, adjust, pay, or deny claims for unemployment compensation. Based on wage and separation information supplied by the Postal Service, the state agency determines under its state employment security law the postal employee’s entitlement to unemployment compensation.
Benefit payments are made to former postal employees by the states under the agreements between the states and the U.S. Department of Labor. The Postal Service then reimburses the states through the Department of Labor.
551.3 Disqualification Factors
Disqualification provisions vary from state to state. In the majority of states,
employment security laws provide for a period of total disqualification or for a
penalty period of temporary disqualification for certain types of separations. A
former postal employee is not disqualified if the separation was an involuntary termination of employment for other than misconduct, or if the separation was a voluntary termination or resignation based on good cause.
The most common reasons for disqualification are:
a. The claimant was discharged for misconduct.
b. The claimant quit the job voluntarily without good cause.
c. The claimant refused a suitable job without good cause.
553.12 SF 8, Notice to Former Employee About Unemployment Insurance
SF 8 explains an employee’s eligibility for unemployment compensation and
describes the steps to be taken in filing a claim. Personnel offices complete
SF 8 by entering at top of form the employee’s name, Social Security number,
and pay location. In item 3 personnel offices enter #732 on the extreme right
side and then enter the address of the Eagan ASC:
USPS EAGAN ASC
2825 LONE OAK PKWY
EAGAN MN 55121-9635
SF 8 is issued promptly to the employee by the separating personnel office so that he or she does not lose unemployment compensation benefits to which he or she may be entitled. An individual whose work or tours of duty are on an intermittent basis is issued an SF 8 only the first time in each calendar year that he or she is placed in a nonpay status. However, a completed SF 8 is issued to an employee each time the employee:
a. Separates from the Postal Service for any reason.
b. Transfers to another federal agency.
c. Is (or will be) placed in a nonpay status for 7 or more consecutive calendar days.
SF 8 is issued on the employee’s last workday. The date is to be noted in the
remarks section of Form 50.
553.2 State Agency Forms and Procedures
553.21 Form ES 931
When a former Postal Service employee (or an employee who works less than full-time as defined in the state employment security law with earnings less than an amount specified in the state law) applies for unemployment compensation at a state employment security office, the state agency sends Form ES 931 to the Eagan ASC (see 553.13) as indicated on the claimant’s SF 8.The Eagan ASC responds to the state agency by extracting the requested wage and separation information from the automated ES 931 system on Form 6803 (see 553.13).
553.222 Request for Wage Information
The Eagan ASC completes the form and returns it directly to the state agency
within 4 workdays after receipt. A copy of Form ES 934 is sent to the respective Postal Service state coordinator by the stage agency. The Eagan ASC retains a copy of the completed Form ES 934 for Privacy Act accounting requirements.
553.223 Request for Separation Information
If the state agency sends Form ES 934 directly to the employee’s separating
installation, the installation completes the form and returns it to the state agency within 4 workdays after receipt of the request. A copy of Form ES 934 is sent to the appropriate Postal Service state coordinator by the state agency. A copy of Form ES 934 is retained by the postal installation and one is forwarded to the Eagan ASC for Privacy Act accounting requirements.
554.1 State Law Requirements
State employment security laws provide for (a) administrative appeals at two
levels in state agency proceedings and (b) appeals to state courts. Appeals
may be initiated by the claimant or by the Postal Service. The state agency’s notice of determination of a claimant’s benefit rights includes (a) the determination and the basis for it and (b) information concerning appeal rights and the time within which an appeal may be filed.
554.2 Initial Level Appeals by Claimants
All claimants, including former probationary employees, have the right to request additional information (see 553.22) for clarification of Postal Service findings or to correct errors and omissions in their records. If a claimant is not satisfied with a state agency’s determination, the claimant has the right to appeal the determination. Notices of such appeals received by postal managers are referred to their respective Postal Service state coordinators (see 554.414).
554.3 Initial Level Appeals by the Postal Service
554.31 Cause to Appeal
If the Postal Service believes that a state agency’s determination in awarding
unemployment compensation is incorrect, the Postal Service may appeal the
determination under the applicable state employment security law.
554.32 Initiation of Appeal
The Postal Service state coordinator files an appeal whenever:
a. The state agency appears to have misinterpreted or disregarded the Postal Service’s findings.
b. The Postal Service believes the determination is not in accordance with the provisions of the state employment security law.
554.42 New Evidence by Claimant
In those appeal hearings in which a claimant introduces new evidence, the
Postal Service representative either replies with Postal Service evidence and
arguments or requests a continuation of the case in order to prepare a response to the new evidence.
554.43 Disclosure of Information
During a state unemployment compensation appeal hearing, the Postal Service has the legal authority to disclose all relevant information from any of the systems of records appearing in the list in Chapter 3 of the Administrative Support Manual (ASM). All postal records presented as evidence during state appeal hearings are excised of all irrelevant information not pertaining to the claimant’s reason(s) for separation and for the appeal or the Postal Service’s reason(s) for separation of the claimant and for the appeal.
554.432 Medical Records
Only medical information that directly relates to the reason(s) the claimant was separated can be presented as evidence during a state appeal hearing. However, in those instances in which the relevant information contains a reference to a malignancy or mental condition, a medical officer is contacted for the purpose of determining whether the claimant previously has been made aware of its existence. If the claimant has not been made aware of the condition, the information is not to be disclosed. If such evidence is essential to the Postal Service case, a cautionary statement is sent to the state referee prior to the hearing, indicating the importance of such evidence and the possible psychological effect it may have on the claimant if released during the hearing.
554.5 Appeals (Second Level) to State Appellate Board
Either the claimant or the Postal Service may appeal a determination made by the initial level state appeal authority to the second level state appellate authority, which is usually the State Appeals Board. The initial level appeal determination indicates the basis for such a determination, as well as the time frame in which an appeal can be filed. When a Postal Service state coordinator receives an initial level appeal determination that continues to contradict the Postal Service findings based on either of the reasons outlined in 554.32, the Postal Service state coordinator files an appeal based on such arguments. Participation by the Postal Service in second level state appeals are conducted in the same manner as in the initial level appeal process (see 554.4).