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.
Appeal A Denied Unemployment Claim
If you believe your states unemployment office wrongfully denied your claim, you should file an appeal as soon as possible. When reviewing your unemployment claim, the state will evaluate the information that you have provided and notify your last employer. The state may contact your employer directly, or provide the employer with an opportunity to contact them.
The denial of your claim could have been the result of problems or deficiencies in the information that you provided, or it could be due to something your employer told the state.
Employers fund unemployment insurance through payroll taxes. The more former employees collect unemployment benefits, the more unemployment taxes an employer must pay. Your former employer might disagree with information that you provided, but some employers simply dispute all unemployment claims as a matter of course.
When Do I Need To Appeal
After your initial interview with the Employment Security Department, you will receive a written notice by mail or on your e-Services account that will deny or allow you benefits. If you are denied benefits, you have a right to appeal. If you are allowed benefits, your former employer has the right to appeal. If either you or your employer appeals, you will have a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. You have 30 days from the date on the decision to send an appeal.
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How To Beat Unemployment Claims
When employers ask how to beat unemployment claims its usually in the context of an upcoming claim hearing, or trying to decide whether or not to contest a claim.
Ideally, most of the steps involved in successfully contesting an unemployment claim begin before that stage. The best way to avoid losing an unemployment claim dispute is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Still, there are strategies for beating an unemployment claim that will help better your odds at any stage of the process.
Overview For Accusation Of Willful Misconduct
Chances are that if you have been accused of willful misconduct, you will need to prove that the misconduct was not as severe as willful misconduct or you had justified cause for your behavior.
How to win an unemployment hearing for misconduct will be most easily won with a good employment lawyer on your side since he or she will know how to challenge your employers accusation. It is your employers responsibility to prove that you were participating in willful misconduct. Their goal is to show that you, the employee, knew about a certain rule and intentionally violated it. This can be as simple as an employee handbook that you signed. Your employer likely has experience in proving willful misconduct, and they will have resources to support their accusation.
Dont be intimidated by your employers allegation and dont go in alone, .
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Quit Or Voluntary Termination
If you quit your job the burden of proof in the hearing rests with you. You must prove that you had a necessitous and compelling reason to leave your job. In other words that you had no choice but to leave. Not getting along with your employer or co-workers is NOT a necessitous and compelling reason to quit. You may feel justified in leaving your job but your reasons may not be considered necessitous and compelling under the law.
You must testify to what attempts, if any, you made to try to keep your job. If you had a problem, such as harassment, discrimination or health problems, you must have tried to work out the problem with your employer before you quit.
Tips To Win Your Georgia Unemployment Appeal
April 30, 2014James Radford
Losing your job is one of the most stressful things a person can face. If youve recently become unemployed, you may be depending on your Georgia unemployment benefits to help with bills, groceries, rent, and other basic expenses while you search for work. If you have been denied benefits, or if your employer is fighting your award of benefits, you may feel frightened and confused. The appeal process can be daunting.
Below are seven tips we can give to anyone facing a Georgia unemployment appeal. This is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. However, we are ready and willing to help should you need us. Contact us here.
1. Take Your Appeal Hearing Seriously. Many people come to us after they have lost their appeal hearing, stating they thought it was just a little telephone call, or that they didnt think it was that serious. They soon regret this attitude. Your hearing before the Appeals Tribunal is usually your only chance to present evidence, to cross-examine your employer, and to make arguments in your favor. You have a right to appeal to the Board of Review, but they will generally not accept new evidence. So, take your initial hearing very seriously. Prepare yourself. Get an attorney if you can. Your entitlement to benefits will likely be determined at this stage.
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Free Legal Help Is Available
You may hire a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, free or low-cost representation may be available. Here are some resources:
- Office of Civil Legal Aid – OCLA website
- Unemployment Law Project call toll-free 888-441-9178 or online at www.unemploymentlawproject.org
- CLEAR call toll-free 888-201-1014 or online at www.nwjustice.org/get-legal-help
- Your local county bar association may be able to assist.
Petition for Commissioner’s Review
If a hearing decision goes against you, you can file a Petition for Review with the Commissioner of the Employment Security Department. The instructions for filing the Petition for Review are included in the hearing decision.
Reasons Why An Unemployment Claim Might Be Denied
If your claim was denied, it might be because your state determined that you failed to meet one or more eligibility criteria. Here are some of the most common reasons you might be found ineligible for unemployment:
- You are not currently able to work. In order to collect unemployment, you must be able to work. If you can’t work for due to illness or injury, you might be eligible for other benefits, such as temporary disability insurance.
- You’re not available to work. The state most likely will not approve a claim for unemployment benefits if it concludes that you intend to take time off from work, even if it is for a noble purpose like spending more time with family.
- You were fired for cause. Unemployment benefits are available to people who are out of work through no fault of their own. This might include layoffs, reductions in force, business closures, and other events that do not involve any wrongdoing on your part. If you were fired for serious misconduct, you probably won’t be eligible for unemployment.
- You quit or resigned voluntarily. In most cases, you won’t be eligible for unemployment if you left your last job of your own free will. However, some exceptions applyfor example, if you quit due to workplace harassment.
- You don’t meet the earnings requirements. Each state requires you to meet minimum earnings or hours worked requirements to qualify for unemployment.
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Common Occurrences For Employees In California You May Be Entitled To Further Compensation
Did you know that many unemployed people may have suffered from labor violations such as wrongful termination, workplace discrimination, unpaid overtime, unpaid wages, missing breaks, and other labor violations during their last employment? We know that you are here for different information, but we also want you to know that you MAY be entitled to compensation due to labor violations during your last employment.
If you feel like you were wrongfully terminated then please dont hesitate to schedule a 100% FREE consultation or click HERE.
If you feel like you were discriminated against in the workplace then please dont hesitate to schedule a 100% FREE consultation or click HERE.
If you feel like you are owed unpaid wages from a previous employer then please dont hesitate to schedule a 100% FREE consultation or click HERE.
Fired Terminated Discharged Wilful Misconduct
If you were fired, terminated or discharged from your job, the employer has the burden of proof at the hearing. This means that the employer must prove its case with first hand testimony and evidence. The employer will testify first and must show that your conduct was wilful misconduct. That means that you were at fault for your discharge.
Object to hearsay. Hearsay is when someone tells what someone else said. It is second hand knowledge. If the employer has a rule that you disobeyed, it must prove that you knew about the rule or should have known about the rule. If you have violated a rule or order, you have to prove that your actions were justified. If there is a disciplinary procedure, the employer must follow that procedure.
After the testimony, you have the right to make a closing statement to tell why you should be eligible for unemployment compensation. The employer also has a right to make a closing statement.
Remember that an employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. As long as you were not fired for wilful misconduct, you should be eligible for unemployment compensation.
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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.
Reading The Hearing Notice Carefully
The first step for employers is to read the hearing notice thoroughly and make sure to understand the participation instructions provided by the state. This will include the date and time of the hearing, whether the hearing is being held in person or over the phone, how to submit documentation for the hearing and how to provide your and your witnesses contact information.
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Next Steps For Appeal Your Unemployment Benefits Decision
Once your request is received
When we receive your request, we will send you 2 letters, either electronically or by U.S. Mail, depending on the method you selected when you filed your claim for benefits. The first letter is sent immediately to confirm we received your appeal request. The second letter is sent when we schedule the hearing. The Notice of Hearing will:
How to prepare for your hearing
The Department of Unemployment Assistance offers the following tips to prepare for a hearing:
If you disagree with the review examiners decision
You may appeal to the Board of Review.
What If My Employer Disagrees With The Decision To Award Me Benefits Can My Employer Appeal
The appeals process generally operates the same way, whether it is initiated by you after a denial of benefits, or by your employer after you have been awarded benefits.
There are many reasons why an employer may appeal the grant of unemployment benefits. Currently, employers pay taxes that contribute to unemployment benefits. Their tax rates are dependent upon the number of employees filing claims. An employer may try to minimize the amount of taxes they have to pay by appealing every determination they receive.
An employer may also simply disagree that you are eligible for benefits. They may claim that you quit without good cause, engaged in misconduct, or violated workplace policies. Fortunately, you will be able to present witnesses and evidence at the hearing to prove your employer wrong.
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Questions & Answers About Appeals And Redeterminations
Q: Can I file one appeal for all negative determination letters?
A: If you file your appeal in eServices, you cant do this. You must select each determination you want to appeal and provide any new information you want us to consider. If you send us your appeal by fax or mail, you should list all the determinations you want to appeal by their letter ID and include any new information for each determination, so we can review each one.
Q: Can I request a redetermination in addition to filing an appeal?
A: You do not need to do this. You only need to appeal. We review your appeal for a possible redetermination before we send it to OAH for a hearing. If we are unable to change our decision about your benefits, well send your appeal to OAH for a hearing.
Q: Should I continue submitting my weekly claim while you are considering my appeal for a redetermination?
A: Yes, you should continue to submit weekly claims for each week you want to receive benefits. If the appeal is decided in your favor, youll be paid for the weeks you claimed and are eligible for. You wont be paid for weeks you did not claim. If your employer appeals your right to benefits and the appeal is decided against you, youll have to repay any benefits you received.
Q: What is a redetermination?
Q: Is every appeal considered for a redetermination?
A: Yes. If you provide new information we will consider it for redetermination before we send it to OAH for a hearing.
Pa Unemployment Compensation Appeal
If your initial claim for Unemployment Compensation benefits was denied, you have the right to appeal this decision and have your case heard in front of a Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Referee. If your eligible decision was appealed, you can expect your employer to contest your case here as well. The purpose of the unemployment hearing is to ascertain your eligibility by obtaining all evidence related to your case, in other words, this is your one shot at putting all the evidence on the table. Many claims in the Pittsburgh region will heard at the Pittsburgh Referee Office, Suite 340 Piatt Place, 301 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
You and your former employer both have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to support your claims. This is precisely the reason most people need counsel because its just like a court of law where both sides can say objection! The Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence apply, and we know its not fair to the employee, but the reality is that we win many of our unemployment cases using the technical rules to include or exclude all sorts of evidence . The secret to win your PA Unemployment Compensation Appeal Hearing is most often to know the objections to use so the employer cant introduce evidence against you.
Should I Represent myself at an unemployment appeal hearing? No.
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Taking The Process Seriously
Even before a claim is filed, employers should have a system in place to help them decide which documents to retrieve and review, whom to interview, and how to quickly gather relevant information. Winning unemployment hearings depends on devoting the proper time and effort to preparing. A lack of preparation by the employer will not go unnoticed by the hearing judge.