Unemployment Insurance Hearing
If you have received notice that your unemployment insurance claim has been denied, you may request an unemployment insurance hearing before an administrative law judge to determine your disputed eligibility to the claim award. Unemployment insurance claims are often denied for reasons such as: 1) failing to make a timely request, 2) quitting voluntarily without good cause, 3) misconduct, 4) overpayment, and 5) making false statements. You may wish to check the unemployment insurance standards to determine if you qualify.
After receiving a notice of determination that your insurance claim was denied, you may request a hearing with the Department of Labor in writing within a set time (typically within 30 days) of the date the determination letter was mailed. The request letter should include your full name, address, social security number, and case number, and a statement that you disagree with the determination.
You should also plan to prepare for the unemployment insurance hearing even before receiving notice of the date of the hearing. Often, hearing dates are set just a few days before the actual hearing and you'll need time to prepare.
How to Prepare for an Unemployment Insurance Hearing
At the unemployment insurance hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence, such as papers, physical evidence, or witness testimony, in support of your position. Below are steps you can take to prepare for an unemployment insurance hearing and present your case.
- Gather all necessary paperwork and evidence to support your eligibility. This may include performance evaluations, pay stubs, phone bills, warning letters, and employee handbooks.
- Anticipate in advance what you will say to prove your case. Have an outline or list of points you want to convey.
- Ask witnesses to attend the hearing and testify on your behalf. Consider having the judge issue a subpoena for witnesses you believe may not voluntarily testify.
- This might be a good time to hire an employment lawyer to help with the success of your claim. Employers are often represented by counsel in unemployment proceedings. You may wish to have an attorney represent you during the hearing as well.
On the day of the hearing:
- Arrive early to the hearing location.
- Dress appropriately (neat business attire, for example).
- Review your file if it is available in your state.
- Prepare to be sworn in, and for your witnesses to be sworn in.
- Stay calm and unemotional when presenting your claim.
- Avoid arguing with the judge or lawyer who may ask questions. Always refer to the judge as "your honor".
During the unemployment insurance hearing, you will have an opportunity to tell you side of the story. It's important that you stick to the facts and avoid making any false statements. This is also the time for you to present any evidence, including witness testimony, to support your case. You will also have the opportunity to cross-examine your former employer and their witnesses (if any), and give a closing statement.
Appeals Process If You are Denied
If you are denied unemployment insurance after the hearing, you may wish to hire an employment lawyer to help guide you through the appeals process. If you feel the decision was incorrect, or disagree with the judge's determination, you must file a written appeal, typically within a short time period, after you receive the decision. Your appeal letter should include your name, address, social security number, and case number, and should include a statement that you are requesting an appeal. Keep in mind, however, that the appeals process can be timely and cost-consuming, depending on the circumstances of your case, and you must decide whether going through an appeal is worth it to you.
If you are overwhelmed with the employment dispute, or need further advice concerning the unemployment insurance appeals process, contact a local employment lawyer to help you in your particular situation.
Contact a qualified employment attorney to make sure your rights are protected.