[Background image: Picture of Carly, a Customer Service Representative]
Hi, I'm Carly, a Customer Service Representative for the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program.
In this video, I'll talk about what to expect at your unemployment insurance appeal hearing.
I'll discuss how to prepare for and participate in your hearing, what to expect during the hearing, and what happens after the hearing.
If you need to file an appeal, you can do so online, by fax, or by mail. There is a link to a video about filing an appeal at the end of this video.
Unemployment insurance appeals can be filed by an applicant who has been determined INELIGIBLE for benefits, or an employer who disagrees with an applicant being determined ELIGIBLE for benefits.
Either way, once an appeal is filed, a formal process that leads to a hearing with an Unemployment Law Judge has begun.
Whether you filed the appeal or your employer filed the appeal, the hearing is your opportunity to tell your story.
The Unemployment Law Judge who runs the hearing will ask questions of the participants and give everyone a chance to explain their point of view.
An unemployment insurance hearing is a formal legal proceeding, but you don't need to have any specialized training to represent yourself well in the hearing.
It is, however, a good idea to prepare yourself before the actual hearing occurs.
[Background images: Appeal Hearing Guide, Notice of Hearing, Determination]
In the packet of information you were sent along with the Notice of Hearing, you will find the determination that is being appealed along with all the fact-finding information we had when we issued the determination.
You'll also find an Appeal Hearing Guide. Read the hearing guide carefully and make notes or write down reminders for yourself.
Read the determination that is being appealed.
Review the fact-finding documents, but keep them in order because they will be used in the hearing.
What do the documents show?
Is there anything missing that the judge needs to know about?
Could you explain something better or more clearly?
Did the other party say something that you need to address during the hearing?
The judge and your employer-if one is involved in the hearing-will also have the fact-finding documents.
After reviewing all the documents, think about how you can best answer any questions the Unemployment Law Judge may ask you in the hearing. Here are some tips:
If you need to explain a sequence of events, write them down along with the dates and times they occurred. It's usually best to describe things in the order they occurred if you can.
If the hearing is about the reason you left a job and you need to describe details about your workplace, remember that the judge may not be familiar with your work.
Think about how to describe it in a way that makes sense to people who don't work there.
If your employer will be attending the hearing, try to think about the issue from their point of view and how you might respond to information they might provide.
[Background image: Appeal Hearing Guide]
Now that you've reviewed the information and thought about what you want to tell the Unemployment Law Judge during the hearing, go over your information again and ask yourself if there are other documents or information that will make it easier for the judge to understand your position.
If you have other documents that you would like included in the appeal, the Appeal Hearing Guide tells you how to send them in.
If you need a witness or witnesses to be present at the hearing, the Appeal Hearing Guide also tells you how to ask the judge to have your witnesses added to the hearing.
Think carefully about the information you are submitting and whether witnesses are necessary to make your point.
It's best to have witnesses only when they personally saw or did something that is directly relevant to a point you need to make.
On the day of the hearing, find someplace quiet where you are not likely to be interrupted. It's a good idea to be at a table so you can spread out your notes and all the documents related to the appeal.
Make sure your phone is nearby. If you're using a cell phone for the hearing, make sure your battery is charged and you have a good signal.
If you have any witnesses, make sure they are ready to accept the Unemployment Law Judge's call.
Have a calendar nearby if needed for reference. You'll need a pen and paper for taking notes.
Look through your information one more time before the hearing and then take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and relax a bit.
The Unemployment Law Judge will run the hearing and guide you through the process. You'll present your information more effectively if you're not too nervous.
The phone hearing will start at the scheduled time and usually lasts about an hour.
The first thing the judge does is call each of the hearing participants individually.
After the judge calls you, you may be placed on hold while the judge calls the other participants.
If the judge does not call you within ten minutes of the start of the hearing, call the appeals office. The phone number is in the Appeal Hearing Guide and at the end of this video.
If at any point in the hearing you become disconnected from the call, hang up your phone and wait for the judge to call you back.
After everyone is on the line, the judge will explain the process he or she will follow over the course of the hearing.
Then the judge will "swear in" each participant.
An unemployment insurance hearing is just like any other legal proceeding-all testimony is taken under oath and each participant must swear to tell the truth.
There are legal penalties for lying in an unemployment insurance hearing.
Next, the judge will go over all the documents that were provided. Documents that are used in a hearing are usually called "exhibits." The judge will describe each exhibit and check to make sure you have it.
After the exhibits have been reviewed, the judge will begin taking testimony.
The judge "runs" the hearing. You, and all other participants, should always listen carefully to the judge's instructions and follow his or her directions.
The judge will only allow one person to speak at a time. Most testimony consists of the judge asking questions of the participants and the participants answering the judge's questions.
Don't ask questions of the other parties unless the judge specifically tells you that you can. It may be tempting to talk over or interrupt other participants if you disagree with their testimony.
Instead, just make a note. You'll be given a chance to respond as the hearing goes on.
When you're testifying, try to speak calmly and address yourself to the judge, not to the other participants in the hearing.
The judge may ask if you have any questions for the other participants. You don't have to ask questions of other participants, but if you do, stay focused on facts.
You may strongly disagree with the testimony of other participants, but expressing anger is more likely to cloud the point you are trying to make rather than clarify it.
At the end of the hearing the judge will ask you if you would like to make a final statement. Again, you should address your final statement to the judge and focus on facts that support your position.
Use your final statement to summarize the strongest points from your testimony, and if necessary, point out any weaknesses in the testimony of the other participants.
At the end of the hearing, the judge will tell all the participants that the hearing is done.
Once the judge closes the hearing, no additional information will be accepted from you or any other party unless the judge specifically instructs otherwise.
The judge WILL NOT make a decision over the phone at the end of the hearing.
[Background image: Notice of Decision of the Unemployment Law Judge]
After the hearing, the judge will consider the evidence, apply the law, and issue a written decision.
Decisions are usually issued within a week of the hearing but in rare cases may take up to 30 days.
If you are still unemployed, remember to continue requesting benefits every week while you wait for the judge's decision to be issued.
The decision is mailed to you and all parties, and is also available in your online account.
From your Account Home page, click View and Maintain My Account and then select Determination and Issue Summary.
In the written decision, the judge will state the important facts of the case, the reasons for the decision, the law that was applied, and the result of the decision.
The judge's decision is final unless a timely Request for Reconsideration is filed. The decision letter will tell you how to file a Request for Reconsideration.
I hope you found this video helpful in understanding how you can most effectively prepare for and participate in your hearing. Here are some reminders:
Even if YOU did not file the appeal, you should participate in the hearing.
If you don't participate, the judge will make his or her decision based on information provided by the other participants.
Take time to review all documents and prepare for your hearing before the actual date of the hearing.
Make sure the judge has your correct phone number.
Make sure you are available when the judge calls for the hearing.
Take notes during the hearing, and continue to request benefits weekly while you wait for the judge's decision.
Thank you for taking the time to watch this video. Here are some resources, and a link to more detailed information about the appeal process.
If you have questions, call Customer Service, and we'll be happy to assist you.
[Screen text: Customer Service, Phone: 651-296-3644 (Twin Cities area), 1-877-898-9090 (Greater Minnesota), 1-866-814-1252 (TTY for the hearing impaired) | Appeals Office, Phone: 651-296-3745, Fax: 651-205-4007 | Mail: P.O. Box 4629, St. Paul, MN 55101-4629 | Links: Appeal Hearing Guide, Appeal Process, Log in to Your Account, Video Library (Filing an Appeal)]