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State of Alaska > DOLWD > Unemployment Insurance Appeals

Appeals Guide - FAQ's


Why should I appeal a determination issued by an unemployment insurance call center or other office?

If you have been denied benefits, you may not be able to have that determination reversed without going through the appeal process. If you choose not to appeal, you have in effect accepted the outcome of the determination. ^back to top

Should I wait to file an appeal until I can gather my evidence?

No. If you wait beyond the 30-day appeal period to file your appeal, the Tribunal may not have the authority to make a decision on your benefit entitlement. You should file an appeal, making every attempt to obtain the needed evidence before the hearing date. Postponements can be granted on the showing that, despite your diligent efforts to prepare yourself, you need additional time to prepare for the hearing. ^back to top

The hearing officer works for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL). Does it do any good to have the hearing?

Although the hearing officers are employed by DOL, they are independent from the offices that issue the determinations and they are required by law to provide fair hearings. All hearings are tape-recorded. The tapes ensure that an accurate record is kept for possible review at a higher level. Historically, the odds of the appellant prevailing in the hearing are significant. Approximately 30 percent of all appeals result in a decision favorable to the appellant. ^back to top

What if I canít afford an attorney or other legal representation?

The hearing officer is charged with the task of ensuring that your rights are protected. The hearing officer will aid you throughout the hearing, provided you ask for help or you have otherwise shown you are confused and need assistance. You may also have a friend or family member help as your representative in the hearing. ^back to top

What evidence should I provide for the hearing?

That will depend on the type of determination you have received. For example, if you have been denied because of a discharge, copies of warnings (or evidence showing the lack thereof), time sheets, payroll records, etc., might be useful. Also, witnesses to the final incident that led to the discharge can help support your claim. If the work separation was a quit, documentation such as medical reports, childcare statements, or witnesses to workplace problems are helpful.

The hearing office can issue subpoenas if a crucial witness refuses your request to voluntarily testify at the hearing or refuses to voluntarily provide documents that are necessary to make a complete hearing record. Contact the hearing office for additional information.
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Can I provide statements from friends/coworkers?

Written statements can be accepted, provided they relate to the issue before the Tribunal. However, a written statement submitted to the hearing record without supporting testimony from the signer of the statement is generally considered hearsay. Hearsay evidence carries less weight than direct sworn testimony. In most cases, you should have the author of the statement at least stand by a telephone in case you need to call him or her as a telephonic witness. ^back to top

Will my former employer be at the hearing?

The employer named in a separation from work determination is always an interested party and is given notice of the hearing. The Tribunal does not usually compel employers to appear for the hearing. It is not uncommon for an employer to choose not to attend a hearing. ^back to top

What if Iím working and canít be at the hearing?

The fact you are working does not provide automatic cause to miss your hearing. As noted above, witnesses might be ordered by subpoena to testify for you at the hearing. A witness cannot ignore a subpoena just because the witness does not want to miss work and lose income. Standards for appearance must be at least as stringent for the claimant who stands a chance to gain from the hearing as those applied to subpoenaed witnesses who have no possibility for gain.

You may request a postponement. If your employer has refused to grant you time off for the hearing, the Tribunal may grant your request one time. The Tribunal may intervene or explore other options if your employer does not grant you time off. ^back to top

How long does a hearing take?

The length of the hearing depends on the amount of evidence, the number of witnesses, and the complexity of the facts. A typical hearing will last 30 to 45 minutes and be completed in a single hearing session. Most hearings are allotted one and one-half hours for completion. ^back to top

How long does it take for the hearing officer to issue a final decision?

Hearing officers will generally advise that decisions will be issued within two weeks after the hearing closes. Most decisions are issued sooner. Some decisions may take substantially longer. Hearing officers write decisions when they are not conducting hearings. If your hearing is short and simple, your decision is likely to be issued quickly if the hearing officerís other hearings do not run long. ^back to top

Should I continue filing biweekly certifications while awaiting the appeal hearing / decision?

Yes. If you are successful on appeal, you will not get paid for any weeks for which you did not file. ^back to top

 

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Page Updated September 19, 2012