5 Important Tips For Filing An Unemployment Appeal

Few things feel worse than finding out that the unemployment office has denied your benefits claim when you have just lost your job. The feelings of desperation and exasperation associated with being unemployed do not leave much energy available to fight for your money. The appeals process can feel like a muddy hike you simply do not want to take. However, if you do not file an unemployment appeal when you get denied, your possibility for financial relief while you look for a new job ends right there.

The steps to a successful appeal in any state represent a process that can be time consuming, and as such the sooner you get started, the sooner you can receive a clear judgment. Thus, if you want to receive benefits for your unemployment claims, it is essential to request an appeal. Continue reading the sections below to learn valuable tips on successfully filing.

1. Be Fully Prepared For Your Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Typically, the unemployment appeal processes begins with a short, formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). These hearings are legal proceedings intended to allow you the opportunity to present all of your evidence to the judge and play a key role in determining how your case will move forward. 

Once you have completed the initial paperwork to apply for unemployment decision change, you will generally get a notice in the mail informing you of the time and place of your hearing. Before your hearing, make certain that you have all of your documentation in immaculate order, fully signed or notarized wherever needed and make multiple copies of everything. This will help you avoid bureaucratic delays at your unemployment office that can be caused by paperwork jams or unnecessary hunts for proper documents. 

Things to Remember at Your Hearing:

·       Give honest answers, no matter how uncomfortable, to all questions asked of you.

·       The judge is a neutral figure and not on “your” side or that of your opponent.

·       Support all of your points with factual documentation.

The judge presiding over your unemployment appeal hearing will issue a decision within a couple of weeks after your hearing. If your decision remains unfavorable to you, you can start the steps for a second level appeal. Remember that the appeals process is not a one-step system and that you still have options available should you receive a negative judgment during this initial hearing. 

2. Know Your Rights To Representation When Filing An Unemployment Appeal

You do not have to file an unemployment appeal alone. You have the right to legal representation during the entire process. You also have the right to use any official advocate you deem fit. You may likewise choose to represent yourself. If you feel incapable of representing yourself, many circumstances can allow for a state-sponsored lawyer or solicitor to aid you through your appeal process.

Law firms exist in every state that only assist residents seeking to change the decision of their unemployment claims. You can find branches that cater to veterans, the disabled, the elderly and other special interest groups. Be sure to thoroughly research unemployment lawyers or solicitors in your area before making a hiring decision to avoid spending extra money unnecessarily.

3. Stick to the Facts During Your Unemployment Appeal

Always remember that requesting an unemployment appeal is not your chance to vent your feelings about how your job came to an end. No part of the process should include emotional outbursts, whining, conspiracy theories or expressions of paranoia from you. Do not give indications of your hurt feelings to the judge or any official party involved. Do not dilute your case with details that reflect in an unseemly way on you or that make you look childish or spiteful. 

Your case for changing the Department of Labor’s decision on your unemployment claims will not be the only one that the caseworker has to evaluate on a given day. Those appeals that are short, to the point and strictly factual have a much higher statistical chance of being reviewed well. You should avoid mentioning whether you have ever utilized unemployment before. The process is not a meritocracy and you should focus only on showing, not telling, why you deserve the benefits at this current juncture. 

4. Remember That All Unemployment Appeal Cases Are Not Created Equal

An unemployment appeal case may be filed for several very different sets of reasons. Maybe you were receiving benefits and the office has decided to cut them back or asked you to return what they have deemed an overpayment. It may also be that you just lost your job, have never received a penny and have been denied.

Other cases, such as those involving persons with disabilities or veteran’s benefits, may result in denial to an appeal for an unemployment weekly claim. This may be based on perceived conflicts with amounts of benefits payments made through those other offices. 

Ultimately, the success or failure of your appeal rests largely on your ability to understand the particular nature of the refusal you have received and all of the available pathways to appeal that exist for your case. Make sure you have done your homework concerning your unique situation before making any official steps with your unemployment office.

In cases where dispensed benefits from different offices may overlap, take the time to outline (and support with documentation) the ways those other benefits are already utilized so that you can show the caseworker or judge why the unemployment benefits are still needed.

If you are receiving any kind of unemployment benefits during your appeal process, do not forget to submit your unemployment weekly claim in a timely fashion. Maintain an open system of contact and good reputation at the UI office by continuing to follow designated protocols concerning your benefits while you are appealing your case. 

5. Remember That an Unemployment Appeal Is A Two-Way Street

When requesting an unemployment appeal, sometimes you can lose sight of the fact that your former employer has the right to do the very same thing. Employers are granted the same right as you to appeal your unemployment claims to benefits that you may already be receiving. Do not make the mistake of taking this personally or allowing your feelings about their rights deter you from your own appeal process. Keep in mind that details of the step-by-step processes governing the process to appeal an unemployment weekly claim varies from state to state. Make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your state’s guidelines before you make any official actions, retain legal counsel or send in documentation. You can look for your state’s listed process on their official unemployment or Bureau of Labor website.