If Your Unemployment Claim Is Denied Here’s How To Appeal The Decision
By Lisa Guerin, J.D.
Once you file a claim for unemployment benefits, the state unemployment agency will review the information you provide, talk to your past employer, and possibly interview you . After its review is complete, the agency will either grant or deny your claim for unemployment benefits. If your claim is granted, you will soon start filing weekly claims for unemployment benefitsand receiving your unemployment checks. But what if your claim is denied?
If your claim for unemployment compensation is denied, you can file an appeal arguing that the agency’s finding was incorrect. This article explains some common reasons why claims for unemployment benefits are denied and provides some basic information on the appeals process.
Denied For Unemployment During The Coronavirus Pandemic Here’s What You Need To Know
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many states have temporarily loosened their eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation. In addition, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which allows all states to expand unemployment eligibility to many people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify under state laws. Under this program, self-employed individuals, gig workers, and those who don’t have enough work history under their state’s laws will generally qualify for benefits if they’re unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19.
If your unemployment claim was denied, and you believe you would be eligible under the PUA program or your own state’s expanded eligibility rules, your next step will depend on where you live and how your state implements the PUA program. For example, some states might require you to file a separate application to receive benefits under the PUA program. In other states, you might need to receive an unemployment denial before you can be considered for eligibility under the PUA program. And if your claim was denied under your state’s old rules, you might be able to get a second look before you need to file an appeal. In Arizona, for instance, you can ask for a redetermination of your claim based on the latest eligibility requirements.
What Happens When Your Unemployment Claim Is Contested
If your employer contests your claim for unemployment, your case will be reviewed by an investigator from your state department of labor. The investigator will analyze the information provided by the employer and may interview the employer to gather additional insights.
You may be contacted to answer some questions about the circumstances surrounding your separation from the job. Make sure that you respond quickly, thoroughly, and honestly to any requests for information. The staff from the unemployment office will then make a determination on whether or not you are eligible for benefits.
If you are accepted for benefits, the employer can still request a hearing to appeal the decision. If you are denied benefits, you will receive written notification of that decision, which will include information regarding the appeals process and the deadline for filing an appeal.
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What Are A Few Tips For An Ucbr Appeal
To enhance your chances of winning your appeal, hire a lawyer. For the appeal, your lawyer will outline a list of very specific reasons for appealing the Referees decision. If the board doesnt believe these reasons are good enough, you may not be given notice of a hearing.
Seek a written copy of your record from the Referee hearing. You can request this to help you build your list for appealing.
- Notice of Hearing arrives in the mail
- The Referees hearing is the on place for sharing evidence, documents, and witnesses
- Read every document and sign nothing without reading
- Ask questions if youre not sure about something
- Check the deadline for filing an appeal
How To File An Unemployment Appeal
If your claim for benefits is denied, you have 30 days to mail your appeal to the NYSDOL. When you file your appeal, make sure to briefly explain why you believe you should receive benefits. For example, if the decision letter states that you were denied benefits because you were fired from your last job for misconduct, you might state, “I was forced to quit because my doctor advised me that my job was endangering my health, and my employer was unable to grant my request for a reasonable accommodation or job transfer.”
Throughout the appeal process, you should file weekly claims for unemployment benefits, look for work, and keep records of your job search, just as you would if your application for benefits had been granted. This may seem like a waste of time, but it’s not. If you win your appeal, you will be entitled to benefits retroactively from the date your application should have been accepted â but only if you’ve been following the usual rules to receive benefits.
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Should I Continue To Claim Benefits Until All Appeals Have Been Decided
Yes. As long as you are unemployed, you should continue to file your weekly claim until all appeals have been decided. Benefits will not be paid for weeks not claimed. NOTE: For claims filed June 30, 2013 and after, claimants are subject to repayment of benefits received from any administrative or judicial decision that is later reversed on appeal.
Special Circumstances During Covid
There’s the unemployment process, and then there’s the unemployment process during the coronavirus pandemic. A few rules have been temporarily tweaked and changed.
Qualifying requirements have been relaxed considerably under federal law through the end of 2020. Thanks to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, gig workers and self-employed individuals are now eligible for benefits, as well as those who only worked a short period of time before being laid off. State unemployment benefits and the PUA program are two separate programs in some states, so you might be able to apply under the PUA while your state’s appeal process evolves.
The majority of states have also waived their waiting periods, and some have gone so far as to waive higher unemployment tax rates for employers when numerous employees apply for benefits due to the pandemic. They might, therefore, be less likely to file appeals during this time.
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How Can I Arrange For Witnesses
Contact and ask the witness to testify. The best witness is one who was present and has personal knowledge of the facts. A witness who was present at an event is much better than one who was told about it by someone else. If possible, each party and their witnesses should be at the same location for the hearing. If a witness cannot be at the same location and must be contacted at a different telephone number, provide the witnesss name and telephone number to the Appeals Referee or hearing official whose name and telephone number appear on the Notice of Hearing. Instruct the witness to be available at the scheduled hearing time and to remain available until dismissed by the Appeals Referee or hearing official. The Appeals Referee or hearing official cannot call your witnesses before or after the hearing. The Appeals Referee or hearing official can only contact your witnesses during the hearing, when all parties can hear what the witness has to say and have a chance to ask questions about the testimony.
What Evidence Can I Present At An Appeal Hearing
Evidence typically presented at an appeal hearing includes oral testimony from you and from witnesses, and documentation such as letters, business records, phone bills, etc. that you can use to substantiate your version of events. If this evidence is in your employers possession, you can ask the administrative law judge to subpoena the records. A judge can also issue a subpoena to an individual witness to require them to attend the hearing and testify.
You can bring notes with you to the hearing. You will want to bring multiple copies of any documents that you want to present as evidence to be able to give to the judge and the other side.
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Unemployment Appeals Process In Ohio
As touched upon earlier, there are two levels of appeal that can be filed in the state of Ohio. The first one is a two stage process as explained below.
Appeal on Initial Determination
- A written appeal should be filed with ODJFS within 21 days of issual of the initial letter of determination.
- The appeal should include information such as social security number, an identification number of the determination along with a detailed explanation of the reason for disagreement.
- The dossier can also include supporting documents, statement from witnesses and any other paperwork supporting the stance.
- The appeal can be filed online, by mail or fax. Claimants filing paperwork online should do so between 6 a.m to 6 p.m only.
- Once the required paperwork is received, a written confirmation will be issued by the department. The appeal will be settled within 21 days from the time of receipt of the required paperwork.
Appeal on Redetermination
Ohio is one of the few states in the U.S which provides multiple levels for the claimant to seek remedy in terms of appeal. If the claimant is not satisfied with the decision made during the redetermination process, a written appeal may be filed with the UCRC within 21 calendar days from the time of issual of redetermination.
In a similar fashion, the appeal may be filed by fax, mail or internet .
Appeals to Common Pleas Court
Points to remember
Hearings Before The Appeals Tribunal
Most appeals hearings take place over the phone, but parties have the right to request an in-person hearing. All parties to the appeal are provided an opportunity to participate in a hearing. The Referee will take evidence and sworn testimony regarding the issue under consideration. The hearing is “de novo”, which means that the Referee hears the matter from the beginning and that the parties must present evidence to the Referee even though such evidence had been previously given to the deputy. The information that the Referee hears is most often about the circumstances surrounding the claimant’s separation from employment. The parties have the right to have legal representation at the hearing and also to present witnesses. The hearing is recorded. The recording, together with the case file containing the documents entered into evidence, becomes the official record of the hearing. The Referee issues a written decision, which contains his/her findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decision.
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When Do I Find Out The Results Of The Unemployment Hearing
One to two weeks after the hearing, the Referees decision will arrive in the mail. The decision will also include a deadline for when you can file an appeal with the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. This is usually a 15-day period from the date of mailing.
If you havent had a lawyer up to this point, you may want to consult one now. A UCBR appeal is further complicated that the Referee appeal and requires an in-depth knowledge of the unemployment law. Your odds of winning your unemployment benefits improves with the help of a lawyer.
But What Can I Do To Win An Unemployment Appeal For Misconduct
There are a number of things that you can do to prepare yourself for creating an unemployment appeal that will prevail. The most important item is being informed of your options and being savvy to the unemployment compensation court process. The proceedings can be complex and difficult to navigate.
An attorney will be able to recognize if a misconduct did, in fact, happen, and if it did, the attorney will know if it qualifies as willful misconduct. Some misconducts should not be grounds for losing unemployment benefits.
Gather documentation and witnesses. Rummage through your papers until you find everything and anything associated with the alleged willful misconduct and your justified reason for the misconduct. At this juncture, an attorney can advise you in what documentation youll want.
Always show deference to the referee* at the hearing. If you end up speaking, be sure to conduct yourself politely and address people appropriately and respectfully. Politeness is a common courtesy.
*judicial officer appointed by a district judge who assesses and recommends a course of action
An attorney will be familiar with the process from day 1, being able to advocate and advise on your behalf, especially if legal issues become more involved and witness cross-examination occurs.
If you have been accused of willful misconduct and denied unemployment compensation,contact a lawyer who will know how to advise you.
Dont hesitate, talk to an attorney: or
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Why Unemployment Claims Are Denied
If your unemployment claim is denied initially, the agency probably found that you are ineligible for unemployment benefits because:
- You voluntarily quit your job. You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit your last job, as long as you had a good reason for doing so. If you were denied unemployment benefits because you quit your job, however, that means the state agency decided your reasons for quitting the job didn’t qualify.
- You were fired for misconduct. Being fired from your job doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from unemployment benefits. It depends on why you were terminated. If the reasons your employer gave for firing you meet your state’s definition of misconduct, you claim may be denied.
- You don’t have sufficient earnings or work during the base period. Each state imposes minimum earnings and/or work requirements during a 12-month base period . If the agency finds you don’t meet those requirements, it may deny your claim.
Even if your unemployment claim is initially granted, you may later be denied unemployment benefits if you don’t meet the ongoing requirements. For example, if you turn down suitable work, aren’t available for work , or you don’t report earnings you receive while collecting unemployment benefits, the state may deny your claim going forward.
What You Should Know About The Unemployment Appeal Process
If you apply for Unemployment Compensation Benefits and are denied, you should read and consider the following information very carefully.
Unemployment Compensation is a benefit available for people not working through no fault of their own.
You must meet two general eligibility requirements to be eligible for unemployment compensation.
You will receive a notice from the Office of Employment Security as to whether you meet each of these requirements.
If you are denied unemployment compensation, it is best to consult an attorney immediately since the time limits in unemployment compensation cases are short.
Read all the information you are given or have someone read it to you. Make sure you read the front and back of every form. If you have any questions, ask someone at the Office of Employment Security for help and be sure to get the name of the person to whom you talk.
Keep your reason for appeal very simple. You will be limited by the reasons you list, and you cannot bring up issues you have not listed. Therefore, it is best to simply state that you “disagree with the decision.”
If you get more than one decision, you must appeal each decision separately. If you are found eligible for unemployment compensation, your employer may appeal.
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Will My Money Be Retroactive If I Won An Unemployment Appeal
The unemployment appeal process is designed to allow interested parties a right to protest the states decisions on claims. Until a state approves a claim, it doesnt release any payments associated with it. You can receive these payments if the appeal is later approved as long as you remain eligible and verify that eligibility through the certification process while appealing your claim. After you win the appeal, you receive that back pay in a lump sum.
Providing You A Path Forward In Your Life Career And Recovering The Compensation You Deserve
MKO is a boutique firm which means that we focus on a niche area and offer highly specialized services to clients who are looking for the personal touch within our area of expertise: Employment Law. Boutique law firms are not a general practice or one-stop legal shop, and thats a good thing. You need one good attorney who knows the ins and outs of the area of law thats relevant to your case. Look for a law firm that primarily practices the area of law that you need. If thats all they do, chances are, they do it very well. We see each legal dispute as an opportunity to find a fair and equitable resolution without destroying your reputation, resume, job prospects, income, and if avoidable, not subjecting you, your family, friends, and former coworkers to unnecessary, highly invasive, time consuming, stressful, and ultimately public litigation. MKO, Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve. Confidentiality is key, for everyone. Are you a victim? MKOs employment lawyers are always available for the clients. You can contact us anytime for a case assessment and evaluation.
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The Unemployment Appeals Process
The appeals process will vary by state. Contact your state unemployment office for a determination on your specific circumstances and how appeals are handled in your state. The information can usually be found on the state unemployment website, but dont hesitate to contact the office with any questions or if you need clarification.
In general, here’s how it works:
- Your legal representative can participate in the hearing and provide advice, but you will be required to present your case.
- You can use witnesses who might counter any claims that the employer may be making as grounds for denying benefits. Your employer can also have witnesses to support its position.
- Be sure to have copies of any documentation that might be used to negate claims by your employer of misconduct.
- You must continue to file weekly unemployment claims throughout the appeals process if you wish to receive benefits for those weeks.