A good unemployment appeal letter will not create a pointless, or untenable argument to pursue once you’re at the unemployment hearing.
Yet, I read thousands of unemployment appeals from those denied benefits .. that did just this.
Claimant letters, which should only give enough information for an appeal hearing to be scheduled, become a road map of sorts for your opposition to prepare documents and/or locate the correct witness with direct testimony to the final incident.
Best case scenario for someone coordinating the preparation on the other side of the table .. the letter may be a virtual spring of self disqualifying information that might make it unnecessary for the employer to show up for the hearing.
My advice .. to claimants .. Do what attorneys do .. KISS.
A Sample letter of appeal to office of unemployment. (This is for a lower level or the first appeal).
Unemployment Appeal Deadlines
Regardless of what state you’re appealing in, the most common reason for a dismissal is when your unemployment appeal isn’t received in a timely fashion.
However, the issue of whether there is good cause for the untimeliness is addressed at a lower or first level hearing ..
Timeliness of the appeal is a common unemployment issue listed issue on hearing notices.
Therefore, if you are untimely with your appeal, know that a state is dead serious about the date given as the deadline, but your reason for not being on time may be considered a good cause reason.
(If you’re late, start your letter with … “Please accept this appeal as timely” and then state the good cause reason for it being untimely.) They will decide at a hearing if it was good cause or not.
Additionally, when the hearing is a result of an employer appeal, check to make sure they were timely. If it’s not listed on the NOH (notice of hearing) please make sure to contact the appellate section and ask for the issue to be added. At the very least, ask about it at the hearing.
My basic advice .. always fax appeals when that’s an option. Save the transmittal and even the envelope the determination arrived in should you need to use it as a document.
Unemployment Appeal Levels
If you were to go to the page at your state’s website that tells you about the levels of appeals, you might get the impression that if you lose the first unemployment hearing you have a second chance with a board of review appeal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The higher you go in the unemployment process the more technically legal it gets.
There will be no second chance or a do over hearing unless the board of review remands, reverses or reopens the matter. But they typically affirm hearing decisions.
Board level unemployment appeals are always an opportunity, but honestly, probably beyond the scope of your legal abilities .. especially if you didn’t know how to win at the first hearing.
As far as I’m concerned, the lack of information and lack of emphasis on the overall importance of winning the first hearing is a not so subtle way to keep the number of benefit recipients down.
First stage appeals are the most important to win because that’s the hearing which establishes the record all further appeals are pinned on.
I have a protocol that helps to identify the levels of the unemployment process as there is little consistency in terminology from state to state.
- Decisions issued after the claims department adjudication process (The Interview). I call these decisions either a determination or re-determinations.The claims department is the first section of unemployment. It acts like a filter to keep the appeal section from being inundated. Every determination made comes with a right for any aggrieved and interested party to ask for a hearing regarding the issue revealed in the reasoning given for the determination.Some states just quote the section of law used to deny or allow benefits. Others provide some real details as to why the section of law was applied.If you disagree with the finding, write your appeal and then come to the hearing prepared to win.Unemployment hearings are full fact finder missions when compared to the pre-determinations made after a claims adjudication meant to shake out approximately 74 percent of those claiming unemployment benefits.
- Unemployment Appeal Hearing Decisions I call these hearing decisions ..These are actually quite detailed letters that provide reasoning, findings of facts and precedent case references.Most importantly, the hearing officer’s conclusions which rely upon those cases. Precedent decisions are select cases that have interpreted the intent of the unemployment statutes.Enough said, win this or your chances of getting benefits decrease exponentially for a couple primary reasons .. even when you could of won based upon the facts that led to the end of your job.You didn’t know what you were supposed to do to truly prepare to win and you didn’t know how to legally represent yourself.Of course, you can appeal the hearing officer’s decision .. timely to the authority that reviews lower level unemployment decisions.
- The unemployment insurance appeals board decisions .. What I call them depends on what they decided. But generally I use the term board decision when they affirm a hearing decision or I refer to the decision as an order when they take any other action ..What actions?They (it’s usually a panel of three), have the power to remand for a de novo hearing (as if the first one never took place). The board would have to issue an order to vacate the first decision to do this. What happens frequently enough to mention as a cause for this is when you’ve already gone to an unemployment appeal hearing where the employer didn’t show up.Cost control companies appeal hearing decisions citing good cause for their non-appearance .. therefore they get a second chance. You should keep this in mind if you missed a hearing due to some good cause reason.A remand for taking additional testimony or evidence indicates to me someone was on the the ball at the hearing and knew to object if a hearing officer denied anything having to do with your rights to present relevant evidence and/or testimony.Reversing a hearing officer .. This is something I actually consider to be indicative of the performance of a hearing officer .. something similar to a written warning.Bias is often an underlying issue causing incorrect hearing decisions. This is just another reason you should prepare for the first hearing focusing on legal issues and familiarizing yourself with the rules of procedures for administrative law hearings. It’s not a wise idea to allow the person that is suppose to listen to facts impartially, to also protect your rights to due process.A board of review is usually conducted without anyone being present except for the board. If you want to let the board know something you believe they need to pay attention to .. then learn how to write a written legal argument.I believe lawyers call these written briefs.
Unemployment appeals .. get more legal with each increasing level.
Who’s Responsible For Most Unemployment Appeals
Just because you were initially allowed unemployment benefits, does not mean you are home free.
If there is one thing employers and especially their cost control companies understand, it’s that an initial determination is written in the dirt so their appeals are automatic, batched and electronically sent.
It’s all done quickly and all that’s left is to wait for the hearing notice and prepare the documents and witnesses.
But when a claimant appealed .. I went straight for the letter that should of only requested a hearing and stated your generalized reason for disagreeing with the determination.
I read lots of overly forthcoming employee appeal letters.
They often guided me right to the correct witnesses to contact and documentation to ask for that I would of never known existed otherwise.
Sometimes the appeal letter was so bad, I could even recommend to the employer not appearing for the hearing because the letter itself took care of the outcome of the hearing.
So here’s an example letter that won’t hurt you before you get started .. preparing your case.
Just pretend like you’re playing poker for now and when you get ready to lay your hand down, it will be at the hearing. (But, don’t forget to submit documents as per your state’s requirements).
Unemployment Appeal Sample Letter
If you have been denied unemployment benefits .. consider using this template for a generic unemployment appeal letter.
I’d write it for myself if I were ever denied unemployment benefits at the initial level, but I wasn’t .. not even when I supposedly quit my temp job.
I’m sure I need to let some know .. the letter assumes you have been truthful with the unemployment department from the start about the reason for separation.
I, (insert name) wish to appeal the determination denying unemployment benefits under (insert section of law cited in the determination) and dated (insert mail date of determination).
The reason for this appeal is the determination is erroneous.
Please accept this as my request for a hearing to be scheduled so I may provide important information and testimony that may havee been overlooked, or unavailable at the time the determination was made.
It’s generic, but it’s not self-disqualifying, self-incriminating or forcing you into a corner with a legally untenable argument that will get you nowhere.
The above sample is for a first level tribunal unemployment hearing .. which invites all interested parties to attend to give testimony, evidence, present witnesses and make cross examinations, or make objections as you see fit to protect your rights to due process during the proceeding.
I caution you, take your time and thoroughly read the “appeal instructions” provided with your notice of hearing. It contains mention of some of your rights to due process.
My Employer Has Appealed My Unemployment Benefits
Please tell me you already know this is the most frequent of unemployment appeals.
Some employers fight any and all unemployment claims whether justified, or not, because they use an unemployment cost control company to manage unemployment matters.
Nevertheless, always, always, always .. attend an unemployment hearing if you get a notice of hearing.
If you can’t make it .. put a request for postponement in per the instructions.
Just do what I used to do for employers. State your reason slanted with good cause, and most importantly, don’t state anything that is untruthful or NOT good cause .. like I have an appt. to have my nails done that day.
Of course .. fax the request .. so you can prove you requested a postponement if the request is denied and you need to appeal the hearing decision to a board of review for a remand where you may need to address your reason for non-appearance because it’s listed as an issue on the NOH (notice of hearing).
You might consider trying this reason as some of you may be here at the last moment before you’re hearing.
I would like to request a continuance as I have been unable to locate anyone to represent me at the hearing.
You have a right to be represented .. if you so choose. Regardless of who appealed, always prepare to win the unemployment hearing as ignorance of the laws controlling the hearing decisions and the way they are arrived at, is not good cause to cite as a valid argument when you appeal to a board of review.
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