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Winning An Unemployment Appeal

Winning an unemployment appeal hearing, even if I determine you as being unemployed through no fault of your own, means I also think, you should take some time to decide how you will argue your case at a hearing to get, or keep unemployment benefits, as being a crucial step in the process.  

And mean this, whether you, or your employer decides to write an appeal letter to disagree with a determination.

Identifying how to argue relevantly was the purpose for answering most of the questions about unemployment benefits.   But it was also to discover when there may of been a path of least resistance and underlying an issue found in unemployment laws.

Which is to say, I think questions about UI should be specific to one state's specific unemployment laws, or the statutory authority providing scope to allow, or deny benefits.

But,  when questions turn to unemployment appeals, I think we are discussing how a non-attorney claimant can also use lower level administrative law hearing rules as tools and similarly, to how I learned those rules to be used by professional non-attorney appeal hearing reps.

Those professionals do a lot more than just sway and compel the hearer of facts (hearing officer, examiner, referee, ALJ, or administrative law judge) to make objective decisions, but they use those rules for conducting a hearing to buy time for a client who may need to be better prepared, as is often the case, for why employers and/or their hearing rep request a continuance at the hearing and on the record .. and in case a board appeal is needed to get a reopening.

The wiser thing for you the claimant to do however, may be to do much the same thing I did daily for years on end.   Request a postponement for a good cause reason, per hearing instructions and .. before the hearing begins.

Central to improving your odds of winning and unemployment appeal, is knowing what facts and/or evidence go  to the core of a relevant verbal argument and which ones don't.   

A lower level, tribunal, commission, or whatever name signifies it's the state's lower appeal authority conducting this pivotal full fact finder hearing, will generally, be your last chance appeal hearing, whether to get, or keep your benefits. .. at least you will understand why I say last chance, once you know what a higher appeal authority needs in a written argument to an Unemployment Insurance Board of Review.  

Whatever is best for a core argument it is based on and all about unemployment law, which means in turn, you know which burden to focus on, whether you need to prove it or rebut the fault to the higher standard of law applied at appeal hearings, than only the available information a claim adjudicator uses, to make an  initial non-monetary claim determination.

Fact to think about.  More employers appeal when benefits are allowed, than claimants, when denied unemployment.

Sample Unemployment Appeal Letter .. For a Claimant

The point of me offering a free sample appeal letter for claimants, is my sincere hope you won't disqualify yourself with an unemployment appeal letter, even before your hearing is docketed.

The UI appeal process begins when a claimant, or employer, opts to exercise their right to appeal and disagrees with an initial determination with, or without actual merits for the appeal.  

The purpose of the first appeal letter is not to create a damning document that will become part of the record of your hearing, where the purpose is to finally fully explore facts, YOU think make you not at fault, and those your employer does think make you at fault.

The lower level appeal hearing is where both parties are allowed to fully explain why they disagree, or disagree the a claim determination via testimony, witnesses, and evidence (which should be relevant to positioning to fault, for the cause), but all this talk about what happens at quasi-legal hearings where claimants are usually unrepresented and employers are frequently (at least in my experience) catches up with claimants when they are caught off guard to think they are expected to know how to cross examine .. effectively, an employer's direct witness, or the boss, or manager with direct knowledge to offer about the final incident,  or what happened when you quit, or got fired.

Unemployment insurance law like many other sorts of employment law in this country is administered first, via a quasi-legal administrative law process.

Frankly, I don't think quasi-legal administrative unemployment law is accurately described when a state uses the word informal to explain the atmosphere at a lower level unemployment hearing .. whether held by phone, or in person. 

Which is also why I offer free case referrals to professional hearing reps.

Q&As about unemployment appeals 

Representing yourself well can be a big learning curve to first understand how to best represent your side of the story adequately, and with the intent of avoiding the need for a written argument to a hearing decision for an unemployment board of review.

It doesn't take long to learn if the factual elements you think are important are a strength to be exploited, or a weakness you may need to be guarded against, and prepared for, during the hearing.  

To improve an overall ability to win an unemployment hearing, it is just as important to be prepared to know what not to say, as it is to know when you should say something on the recording of that hearing to object on your own behalf because both employees and employers have a responsibility to know when they are in a position to protect their rights to due process.

This is often what a board of review looks for .. errors made with how the hearing was conducted that made it less than fair, or impartial for at least one party despite the fact you made an attempt to remind the hearing officer of a right to due process.

Objection .. Objection, Objection.

How to Write an Unemployment Appeal Letter for a Denial of Benefits

Here again is my template for a Keep It Simple Stupid  unemployment appeal letter if you are appealing a denial of unemployment.

Unemployment Appeal Hearing Instructions;  Your Built-In Reality Check

To date, I haven't attempted to systematically link to hearing instructions for every state because they often change and  I can't  find them all online in a .pdf.

But, it's sort of necessary to read the instructions that come with every unemployment hearing notice .. especially, if you're truly clueless about what can go on at hearings in the first place if an employer, or their hearing rep is an old hand at these hearings, with multi-state experience using not just facts, evidence and testimony, but using rules of procedure to their advantage..

If you need a referral to someone who can represent, or coach you to represent yourself .. let me know.

It's good to know what information was made available during the initial process. A state agency's keeps a file on your claim to include all that information gathered from both a claimant and employer during the initial claim process.   The file should also include the adjudicator's notes, because frequently, it's good to get some much needed insight as to what you said .. and what they wrote in their notes about what you said.

If your state does not provide the state claim file prior to the notice of unemployment hearing, or does not transfer this claim file to the appeal section of the UI department,  I would advise you still call your state to find out what you have to do to obtain a copy of the state's file on your claim. 

The first unemployment appeal hearing, is referred to as a FULL fact finder proceeding for a reason.  The purpose of all first level hearings, is to fully establish the record about the listed issues found on a hearing notice.  You have subpoena rights .. for documents, or witnesses relevant to proving, or rebutting the burden of proof .. no matter what some employee at the department might tell you.

And finally, understand what  standard of law is being used at unemployment appeal hearings .. because it's not beyond a shadow of a doubt .. but a preponderance of the evidence and testimony provided at the FIRST unemployment hearing.

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

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

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