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Lipman v. Board of Review

OPINION FILED MARCH 30, 1984.

NANCY G. LIPMAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE RIZZI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff, Nancy G. Lipman, appeals from the order of the trial court affirming the decision of defendant, Board of Review of the Department of Labor (the Board), in which the Board denied plaintiff's claim for antedated unemployment compensation benefits because the claim was not timely filed. On appeal plaintiff argues that the Board's construction of Regulation 17F of the Division of Unemployment Insurance, Department of Labor, is unreasonable. Alternatively, plaintiff argues that if the Board's construction of Regulation 17F is permissible, then the regulation is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. We reverse and remand.

On October 8, 1981, plaintiff applied for extended antedation of her unemployment compensation benefits for the period January 11, 1981, through October 3, 1981, based on Regulation 17F of the Division of Unemployment Insurance, Department of Labor. This regulation provides:

"17F Extended Antedation. When an individual files a claim or reports with respect to a week not later than one year after the first day of the week, such claim may be antedated to the first day of the week, or the individual may be deemed to have reported on his report day for the week, as the case may be, in any instance in which failure to file or report at an earlier time is established by the individual to be due to

1. The individual's unawareness of his rights under the Act, or

2. Failure either of the employing unit or of the Division of Unemployment Compensation to discharge its responsibilities or obligations under the Act or the Regulations, or

3. Any act of an employing unit in coercing, warning, or instructing the individual not to pursue his benefit rights, or

4. Circumstances beyond the individual's control, provided that the individual files his claim or reports, as the case may be, either at his first available opportunity after the reason for failure to file or report no longer exists, or not more than fourteen days after the date of such first available opportunity."

Plaintiff's claim was denied by the claims adjudicator on the basis that plaintiff had not filed her claim within the prescribed time limits. The claims adjudicator found that plaintiff's delay in filing her claim was due to her "failure to investigate [her] eligibility status through the usual channels."

Plaintiff applied for reconsideration of the claims adjudicator's determination. A hearing was held at which plaintiff testified that she had been unemployed from January 11, 1981, to October 1, 1981. Plaintiff stated that she had not sought unemployment compensation benefits immediately after she lost her job because she had been working for the Federal government, and she did not think that Federal employees who lost their jobs were eligible for benefits under the State's unemployment compensation program. Plaintiff further stated that she filed her claim in October after a friend suggested that she might be eligible for State benefits.

The referee upheld the claims adjudicator's determination that plaintiff's application was not timely filed and that such failure was not due to any of the reasons set forth in Regulation 17F. Plaintiff then appealed the referee's decision to the defendant Board, which affirmed the referee's decision. In making its determination the Board stated:

"It is the claimant's contention that because she believed federal employees could not receive unemployment insurance benefits, she was `unaware of her rights' as prescribed under Regulation 17F-1, and that she was entitled to have her claim for benefits antedated. However, unawareness of rights under which extended antedation may be granted means unawareness of the existence of an unemployment compensation program, not ignorance as to whether a claimant is eligible to receive benefits. Under the circumstances of this case, the claimant's mistaken belief is not sufficient basis to allow extended antedation of her claim for benefits."

Plaintiff next filed a complaint for administrative review. The Board's decision was affirmed by the circuit court.

Plaintiff's first contention is that the Board's construction of Regulation 17F is unreasonable and violates the public policy embodied in the Unemployment Insurance Act (Ill. ...


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