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What You Can do When Your Unemployment Benefits are Denied

DeniedBenefits denied!

That’s the last thing you want to hear after losing your job and applying for unemployment benefits. But, don’t give up! There’s still hope, thanks mainly to the appeal process.

Reasons for Denial

There are several valid reasons for denial of benefits, including:

  • Voluntarily leaving the workplace without just cause
  • Being discharged for work misconduct
  • Not being able or available for work
  • Refusing an offer of suitable work
  • Knowingly making false statements to obtain benefits

If you don’t agree with the reason provided for the denial of unemployment benefits, you can appeal the decision. So, how exactly do you appeal a denial of unemployment benefits?

Act Fast

Time is key in the appeal process. Depending on the state’s requirements, you have somewhere between 10 and 30 days to request an appeal. Unemployment agencies are sticklers for timeframes so missing a deadline without good reason will not help your chances.

It’s OK to go Pro Se

You don’t have to hire an attorney to represent you during a hearing for appealed unemployment benefits. The process is designed for those with less legal knowledge, but if you’d rather have an attorney guide you through the process, you’re certainly welcome to retain counsel. Many communities also have low-cost legal aid that might be an option as well.

Go Prepared

The hearing is going to be the only chance to present your side of the case to the state, so clarity and conciseness of presentation are imperative. Review the file, the facts of the case, and the reasons for the denial of unemployment benefits. Be prepared to counter any allegations against you and present any evidence that supports your appeal. This could mean oral testimony provided by you or witnesses. It might require providing documentation such as letters or business records to substantiate your claim. If your former employer has evidence to validate your appeal, you can ask the administrative law judge to subpoena the records. Bring multiple copies of any documents to be presented as evidence in the hearing as you’ll want to retain them for your records and provide the judge and the opposing side with copies as well.

Know Your State’s Rules

While each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, all programs operate within the guidelines established by Federal Law. Benefit amounts, eligibility requirements, and the length of time benefits can be received, as well as the process of appeal, is mandated by individual states, so check with your local office to verify the proper procedure requirements.

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