The Unemployment Appeal Process 

I don't know what your assumptions at this point might be about your state unemployment department's unemployment appeal process.

But I do know, what I believe at least, unemployed people who might of won a first level unemployment administrative law hearing do, or don't do, to lose it.

I think many will make haphazard guesses and assumptions about what the law expects from you at one of these hearings, whether you're the appealing party, or the party with the burden to prove, or rebut good cause existed.

Sample of a Non-Disqualifying Unemployment Appeal Letter.

For some reason claimants when denied unemployment benefits often don't appeal, even if they should.  

They also show a tendency when they do write an appeal letter to an initial claim determination, that can demonstrate a willingness to spill their still uniformed guts, all over the paper as if that's the time to make their argument for benefits.  

I myself, think you just need to be thinking about the logistics of appealing timely and verifiably so, with a K.I.S.S. unemployment appeal letter.

Prepare Your Evidence and/or Witnesses While You Wait for the Notice of Unemployment Hearing 

I cannot count the times, I was expected to review employer docs for an employer case if .. it was an in person hearing to start in an hour.  In that same hour, it was expected I could also find and contract an IC hearing rep and locate and speak with the direct witness I needed to attend the hearing with the representative. 

If the hearing was being held by  phone as most state do conduct first level unemployment hearings, my first order of business was to get a request for postponement into the appeal section before the hearing began .. because it's never a good idea to attend and participate in a hearing without the evidence one needs to win, considering phone hearings have different procedural rules about submitting evidence.

A postponement request was the effort I was making to preserve a party's procedural rights with an ability to hang an appeal to a board of review on for a reopening .. just in case my request was denied and I instructed the witness they should not appear for the hearing.  Strategic use of procedures are important .. even if your phone is going to be shut off due to non-payment.

Point being, there are good cause reasons for non-appearance at a hearing that may very well save even a claimant from appearing for their hearing unprepared.

In fact, the postponement scenario above was frequently the cause for a question I can be found posing when someone asked questions about winning unemployment appeals and hearing.

An Unemployment Appeal Reality Check

The first unemployment hearing is in real terms, your last chance to get, or retain unemployment benefits, but many unemployed people lose the first unemployment hearing by default when they fail to appear for the first hearing.

Two common issues that are listed on unemployment hearing notices -  a voluntary quit with, or without good cause and/or a discharge for misconduct, or something other than misconduct.  

The process for appeals and the rules of procedure for conducting first level hearings can and do vary by state .. ergo the basic hearing instructions that come with a notice of hearing.

For a claimant to be fully prepared to represent themselves effectively they should consider obtaining a copy of their state claim file before filing the appeal as it can be revealing as to what the employer actually told the state when / if they protested your claim.  The state's file may even include documents, such as employer rules and policy and write ups sent along with their written response to the notice of claim filed, sent to them shortly after you applied for unemployment.

The point of filing an appeal for unemployment benefits .. is to present the most credible story to meet, or rebut the burden and the standard of law used at unemployment appeal hearings called, a preponderance.

Fighting an Unemployment Denial Begins With a K.I.S.S. Unemployment Appeal Letter

If you've been initially denied unemployment .. all anyone need do to protect their appeal rights is write an unemployment appeal letter to meet the appeal deadline on every initial determination.

My suggestion if you're a claimant who doesn't know if, or how you will win is to .. keep it simple stupid and then research your issue more deeply by finding relevant case law.

Make sure your hearing request is sent in a verifiable manner to the state and this mean using the instruction found on all claim determinations.  

Verifiably is in case timeliness of appeal becomes an added issue on a hearing notice.  Always nice to have evidence handy to prove an appeal was sent timely.

Some states send an acknowledgment when the appeal is received.

Many states after receipt of your appeal letter, send an acknowledgement to you and any other interested parties to your appeal. (Acknowledgements usually include a copy of the appeal letter.  Handy too, if you are not the appealing party.)

In case you need to know more about appeals, or representation at a hearing you can check out our unemployment services here.

Or try the free Q&As about UI Appeals.

Identify and Explore the Issues Listed on Your Unemployment Hearing Notice.

This is easy, the issues of law related to the appeal are listed on a hearing notice.  However, in some states you will need to be on top of identifying whether a relevant issue is missing.   Could be something as simple as a state omitting the issue of an employer's timeliness of appeal, or a non-appearance issue if they missed the last hearing?  

It can depends on the state, but well worth your time to investigate and find your state's rules of procedure for administrative law hearings..

Appealing a Monetary Determination of Benefits

The initial monetary determination at minimum will establish the base period for your claim, and there they find the highest quarter of earnings in to establish how much unemployment benefits you will receive each week.

I don't know about you, but I think how much unemployment will pay is an important issue and one that any erroneous departmental errors causing a smaller weekly benefit amount for any reason needs to be assessed and appealed when necessary.

Need answers about appealing unemployment monetary determinations?

The Last Chance Appeal to An Unemployment Insurance Board of Review.

Do you have relevant evidence, or testimony you believe might of helped you to win the first and usually last lower level unemployment hearing?

Why didn't you have it prepared to submit for the first hearing?

But now that you've lost the first hearing you want to if have what it takes for a successful appeal to a board that reviews hearing decisions and possibly for procedural mistakes made by a hearing officer.


This is Why You Want to Avoid Having to Appeal a Hearing Decision to an Unemployment Board of Review

You  should want to win the first unemployment hearing because winning a second level board of review appeal isn't  a second chance to explain your story of job loss, but to explain why you quasi legally, deserve a second chance to have another first level hearing to do that.

Board appeals aren't always difficult.   Often used by employers for things, like asking for a reopening, so they can show good cause for non-appearance at the first hearing.  I've personally spent a great deal of time  .. doing just this .. requesting postponements for employers as a method of protecting their right to due process because it improves the odds for a reopening and another lower level hearing.

But, when both parties appear for the lower level hearing, a board appeal is usually disagreeing with a hearing officer .. or their decision.

For this, you need a good written argument (called a brief in some circles) pointing out the H.O's errors and defects made on the record by the hearing officer who was also mandated to conduct the first unemployment hearing fairly and impartially.

So, let me ask you, do you know when to object on the record?  Do you know you can make a request during the hearing for continuances so you might obtain evidence you know will help explain your position .. and verbal argument made at a hearing.

There's more to preparing to win the first hearing than spilling your guts at one .. you have to learn how to tell your story in a way not common to most of us.  As if you knew what happens at administrative law hearings and the laws that should be applied in your case.

More Related to Unemployment Appeals

Literally any reason you can be separated from you job, whether you think it isn't your fault, or an employer thinks it's all your fault is subject to being fully explored at the FIRST unemployment appeal hearing .. and therefore employees in the "new" and rapidly changing labor markets of today .. have at much at state to know how UI works as well as those who employ us.

Unemployment Law  It contains the issues found on all appeal hearing notices.

Sample Appeal Letter For a Denial of Unemployment - Instead of writing an untenable short story.

Frequently Asked Appeal Hearing  Questions

Unemployment Hearing Reps and Employee / Unemployment Coaching

Unemployment Tips Home