How To Win An Unemployment
Appeal  the First Time

So, I would love to just be able to layout the important basics you need to know to win your hearing, but since unemployment insurance benefits are given and denied on an individual basis. and that fact alone is what makes an unemployment appeal hearing rather unique, I wound up answering questions.

Although, I tended to stay focused on the common intrinsic similarities of UI hearings that are of utmost importance to know for anyone appearing as their own hearing representative to get, or keep benefits.

But, regardless of similar appeal processes and/or special rules of procedure for conducting a first level unemployment hearing from the ETA,  if you really want to come out the winner after the first hearing, then look for the path less traveled by claimants.    That would be the one with the least resistance to why you should be able to collect benefits..

Usually, found in unemployment law, not any desperate assumptions of how you assume things should work.

Cluttering your issue(s) is not something I would advise anyone to do, because it will likely be a waste of your breath and energy and equate to providing irrelevant noise as the one and only quasi-legal argument you'll get to make to the issue listed on an unemployment hearing notice ..

And besides, irrelevant is an objection you should know when to make by the time you get to your hearing date.

Ideally, the path of least resistance is not just focused on an uninterpreted unemployment law, but more laser like when you understand the intent of the law via an interpretive precedent that can also be applied to something about the unique circumstances you came to be separated from your job.  But be careful .. because unemployment law is not created equally from state to state, nor interpreted equally.

This first appeal hearing is a quasi-legal administrative law proceeding.     If you like definitions then administrative law is a jungle even lawyers have to learn how to "hack" their way through.  

Believe me, once you start digging, you won't have to hack far to understand even as a novice unemployment claimant the real danger you face is not knowing what does happen at and after the first unemployment appeal hearing.

  • The difference between lower level unemployment appeals and appeals to a board of review
  • A basic, non-disqualifying template to appeal a denial of unemployment benefits


Why Win the First Unemployment Appeal  Instead of Waiting for The Second Chance - An Appeal to a Board of Review?

Good question, because the answer is short (I know, not really my style, so it probably won't last).  

Answer:  Although an appeal to a board of review is still considered to be within the purview of the quasi administrative law agency, boards review the record of the first hearing.   And sometimes, even based upon the content of a written argument. (If it were legal they'd call this a legal brief.)

In the interest of clarity, there are no second chances after the first hearing to relitigate the facts, evidence and testimony entered into the record of the first hearing.  

A board of review is usually a panel of three people and it's construction is detailed in unemployment statutes.  A board is basically interested in quality assurance to oversee the proper conduction of a hearing at the lower level appeal authority.  For you, that means everything that happened since you decided to appeal all the way through the hearing where the hearing officer might of made a mistake, or a quasi-legal error that somehow also ignored any right to due process all parties have at the first hearing.

From my perspective, most unemployed people not familiar with how unemployment insurance benefits work, never perceive the vital difference in subject matter of an appeal, and that's why they rarely get a second chance to get a do-over down at the lower appeal authority .. often called a Tribunal, or commission hearing.



The First Unemployment Hearing with a Tribunal Or Commission 

What goes on at the first unemployment hearing?

A  lower level tribunal, or commission hearing, also referred to as the full fact finder, is really your last chance to get, or retain benefits.  

In a nutshell the first unemployment appeal hearing is  the last and your last chance to tell your story in a compelling way through testimony, witnesses, evidence and ... cross examinations.  It's also where you are expected to know how to actively protect your rights to due process via objections and requests placed on the record .. for use, if necessary at the next level of appeal, to the board of review which can decide to give you a second chance with another first hearing.

How many ways can I say it, let me count them.


PREPARE to win this first hearing.   And  don't wait to start preparing until you get a notice of hearing in the mail with the date, time, and mode (in person, or by phone).  

Evaluate your merits any weaknesses and through the lens of unemployment law and maybe even precedents that interpret the law.

Your benefits are riding on the outcome, whether you were the appellant, or your employer was.  

If the employer is fighting your unemployment benefits .. you have the additional threat of repaying every last penny of benefits you have received, until a hearing decision either affirms, or reverses the initial determination.

By now, I hope you're not surprised that it is the employer that knows how to use not only the lower level appeal to their advantage, but what you don't know about preparing for one of these hearings

Which brings me back to the very cause claimants think they can circle back to a second chance board appeal without ever knowing the purpose for that appeal.  In case you forgot, that means examining the record (the actual recording, or transcript of a first hearing) for mistakes, errors and defects that resulted in a bad hearing officer decision.


The Letter to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits

A letter to appeal a denial of benefits should not be the document that provides self disqualifying information for an employer, or the state, to explore.

In fact, it should be simple, simple, simple because all you need to do is signal your disagreement and request the only unemployment hearing you can reasonably expect to get.

There is absolutely no reason a claimant of benefits, disagreeing  with an initial determination of benefits, clueless as to how the appeal process works, should spill their guts before they get to the referee, or first level tribunal unemployment hearing.

An  appeal letter should say just enough to show your disagreement to gets a first level appeal hearing  scheduled. 

By the time the hearing dated rolls around,  you should be prepared and not need to request a continuance, or last minute postponement to get your case together.  However, if that's what you have to do, do not hesitate to request a postponement for a legitimate good cause reason .. to protect a right to due process.

If you want someone that knows how to prepare, present your case, or defend your benefits against an employer appeal - have them write your letter to appeal a denial.  

It will probably be shorter than my sample appeal letter.

More About The First Unemployment Appeal

The Suject of All Appeal Hearings

A Sample Letter to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment

Appeal Hearing  Q&As

Referrals to UI Hearing Representatives

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