California Human Resources Department v Java – 19.05

California Human Resources Department v Java
Digest no. 19.05

Cite as: Cal Human Resources Dep’t v Java, 402 US 121 (1971).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Judith Java
Employer: N/A
Docket no.: U.S. S.Ct. 507 (1970)
Date of decision: April 26, 1971

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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Benefits due a claimant after an initial finding of eligibility may not be held in abeyance pending the employer’s appeal.

FACTS: Claimants were discharged from employment. They applied for benefits. They were given an eligibility interview which the employer could have, but did not, attend. As a result of the interview both claimants were found eligible for benefits and received benefits. The employer then appealed. At that point payments automatically stopped in accordance with California law and practice. At the Referee level, Hudson was ruled eligible but Java was found to be ineligible.

The procedure used by California in stopping payment of benefits upon employer protest resulted in a median 7 week delay in payments to eligible claimants. Employers were successful in less than 50% of appeals.

DECISION: Procedure used by California was not in compliance with the Social Security Acts’ directive to pay unemployment compensation “when due”.

RATIONALE: The Social Security Act requires administration of the Unemployment Compensation Fund in a manner reasonably calculated to insure full payment of benefits when due. The objective of Congress was to provide for benefit payments on the nearest pay day following the termination of employment to the extent administratively possible in order to provide the unemployed worker with cash at a time when he/she would otherwise have nothing to spend. “When due” as contained in Section 303(a)(1) of the Social Security Act is construed to mean when benefits are allowed after a hearing of which both parties have notice and have an opportunity to present their respective positions.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 12/91