Has your claim for Unemployment Insurance Benefits been denied? Do you feel this decision unfair and you believe that you can prove your eligibility? Little you may know, many businesses will purposely deny your eligibility, knowing full well that you deserve compensation. Failure on your part to file an Appeal, show up for the Hearing or to prove your case to the Administrative Hearing Officer counts as a win for them. They may try to drag the process out, in hopes that you will either find another job or lose your house first!
Things You'll Need:
* Denial of Claims notice
* Time Cards
* Pay Stubs
* Employee Handbook
* Written warnings or notices
* Applicable Medical Records
* Audio/video recordings
* Internet access for OLIVor system filing
* Dress clothes
1. Go directly to the local Department of Labor's unemployment office where you applied to initiate the Appeals process, as soon as you receive notice of the Denial of Claims. Request an in-person Hearing. This Appeals Hearing is your only [due process] opportunity to state your case by presenting all relevant evidence, testimony and witnesses on your behalf.
2. Continue to report (certify) your weekly claims for benefits, either by mail, in person, or through the OLIVor system. Failing to do this may result in the denial of benefits, even if you win your Appeal. Do continue to look for work, and document your search. If your Appeal is granted, and you receive benefits, a Case Worker may call you in to review your progress. Knowingly making false statements during this process may result in criminal charges against you.
3. Gather any and all evidence, before the hearing. This includes Time Cards, Pay Stubs, your Employee Handbook, written warnings or notices, applicable Medical Records, or audio/video recordings. You have the right to issue a subpoena to have any evidence in the form of spread sheets or other documentation in the possession of your former employer brought to the hearing and presented to the Administrative Hearing Officer. Contact the Appeals Tribunal, for information required in requesting subpoenas. You must forward copies of all evidence, documents or audio/video to the Appeals Tribunal in advance of the Hearing. You must also forward copies to your former Employer. Evidence brought to the Hearing without prior review may cause a reschedule which will only delay your receiving benefits. Evidence gathered after the hearing is insubmissable. Witnesses may also be issued subpoenas, as a legal excuse to attend the Hearing and testify on your behalf. Once completed, the Appeals Tribunal will mail or Fax the subpoenas to you. You must provide the subpoenas no less than 72 hours prior to the Hearing. You may hand deliver or send them by certified mail. Certified mail gives you proof that the party received the subpoena, should they fail to show claiming ignorance. This evidence can block an attempt by your former employer to schedule yet another hearing to further delay your benefits.
4. Arrive on time for the Hearing! Better yet, plan on showing up a little early to give yourself time to relax and review your notes. The Administrator will not allow you to read from your notes during the hearing. You will not be allowed to enter the room, if you are more than 10 minutes late. If you arrive later then that, the Hearing will proceed without you.
5. Forward your request in writing to the Appeals Division as soon as possible, if you think you will have to postpone the Hearing. Include detailed/legitimate reasons for the request. The Appeals Division will only grant postponements for extreme emergencies. If you do not receive notice that the postponement has been granted, plan to attend the Hearing on the scheduled date.
6. Request to reopen your appeal, if you must miss the Hearing. If the Administrator grants your request, he/she will schedule a 'Show Cause' hearing to give you one opportunity to prove circumstances beyond your control. If you lost the Hearing that you missed and fail to win the Show Cause Hearing, the ruling will stand and your appeal will remain denied.
7. Dress for success! To defend your honor and integrity, you must look the part. Showing up for the Hearing wearing casual street clothes may be taken as a sign of disrespect. It could, albeit subconsciously, have a negative impact on the desired results. Speak clearly and with respect. You must look and act appropriate in front of all present in the Hearing. Make eye contact with and direct your responses only to the Administrative Hearing Officer.
8. Prepare your case. The Administrative Hearing Officer will not allow you to read your testimony during the hearing. Do your homework! Be sure to review your notes and prioritize your points in order of relevance. Understand and use legal terms where they apply. You do not need to consult a Lawyer but it doesn't hurt to sound like one.
For example: If your former Employer claims termination for the offense of violating written rules or policies NOT included in the Employee Handbook; besides providing the Handbook as evidence, state that 'The subsequent evidence, the Employee Handbook, does not contain the rule or policy which I stand accused of violating. If (former Employer) provided a reissue it is upon them to show this evidence signed and dated by me to prove that I received it. The documentary evidence is the substantial evidence not to be varied by subsequent/verbal hearsay.' Conclude your argument with: 'It is clear that there was no misconduct. They simply wanted a reduction in force without being charged compensation!' If this argument holds true in your case, your former Employer will have little chance of rebuttal!
* Relax, breath deeply and sip water to quench a dry mouth.
* Be confidant without belligerence.
* If you have to subpoena an unwilling witness, do not count on their testimony helping your case.
Note: L.W. Steinwedel, former Chief Hearing Examiner for the [Maryland] DLLR, contributed greatly to this article!
Copyright 04/06/2009 All Rights Reserved. Questions? Comments? Contact Me