Were you recently denied unemployment benefits after being terminated by an employer? Have you appealed that denial? If so, then you may need to prepare for an appeal hearing. Appeal hearings are legal proceedings held in front of an unemployment court officer. They're often held in government offices and conference rooms. In some states, you can take the issue to court or to a second appeal should the first hearing not go your way. In other states, though, the ruling in the appeal hearing is final. Either way, it's important that you put your best case forward. Here are three tips to help you win your appeal hearing:
Thoroughly review the denial statement. When your claim was denied, you should have received a document in the mail explaining the reasons for the denial. This document may be a few pages long and could have a lot of legal and technical language. You may find it complicated to read. However, it's important that you put the time in to understand the document as it will explain the exact issues you need to address in the hearing.
Some of the most common reasons for denial are that the unemployment agency believes you quit your position, that you were terminated for good cause, or that you didn't earn enough in the prior year to qualify for unemployment. The letter should state which reason applies to your case and what evidence exists to back up that reasoning. You can use the information to collect documentation and evidence to show why that reasoning is false. If you find the letter too difficult to understand, consult with an unemployment attorney.
Bring witnesses. Since the hearing is a legal proceeding, you're allowed to bring witnesses to testify on your behalf. This can be especially helpful if your employer is claiming that you resigned or that you were fired for cause. Even if you quit, you can still get unemployment benefits if you felt you had no other option. For example, if you were being sexually harassed and witnesses can back up your claim, the court may still rule in your favor. However, you may need a witness who witnessed the harassment and how it affected your mental health.
Bring multiple copies of all documents. In other situations, documentation can be critical. For example, if your claim was denied because your employer claims you didn't earn enough for benefits, you may need to bring pay stubs and tax documents to counter that claim. Be sure to bring enough documents for all parties involved. You'll need a copy for the other party, a copy for the court administrator, and a copy for yourself. You may be asked to send in documents in advance of the hearing, but don't assume that the court administrator reviewed them in advance.
For more information, talk to an attorney who handles unemployment appeals, such as the Law Office of Matthew J Brier. They can help you prepare for the hearing and even represent you and argue on your behalf.