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Appealing Unemployment Decisions
>>AMY SUSAN: Hi, I’m Amy Susan Director of Communications for the Missouri Department of Labor. On this week’s edition of labor talk, a pod cast where experts discuss workplace issues that affect your life, I’m joined here with Ron Miller, he’s the Chief of Appeals with the Division of Employment Security here within the Department and we’re here to talk about how to appeal a unemployment insurance claim. But first can you tell us how long you’ve been here and what your job entails?
>>RON MILLER: I’ve been with the Department for over 19 years and my job entails managing the division’s appeals tribunal. We hear unemployment appeals from benefit cases and tax cases; we hold evidentiary hearings concerning those appeals and issue written decisions on those appeals.
>>SUSAN: Ok, I think today we’re going to specifically talk about unemployment claims, so if an individual files for unemployment insurance and they were denied benefits what should that person do?
>>MILLER: They should file an appeal with the division’s appeals tribunal. That appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date the determination was issued and the 30 day appeal period may be extended for a good cause. There is no specific form for filing an appeal. The appeal may be in the form of a letter. The appeal should include the claimant’s social security number and the issue number and the claimant should sign the appeal.
>>SUSAN: And of the individuals that file a claim for benefits, approximately how many do you think file an appeal?
>>MILLER: We do not track the information based on the total number of individuals, but based upon the total number of determinations has been issued by the division 5.3% of those determinations have been approved to the divisions appeals tribune.
>>SUSAN: And how long does a process such as this take to complete?
>>MILLER: Currently it’s taking approximately 4 weeks in the appeals tribunal. A party can expect to get a hearing within about 24 days from the time they file their original appeal.
>>SUSAN: Okay, so you file for unemployment benefits and then you have that 30 day period to file your appeal, what should you do though if you were denied benefits and you’re waiting for that appeal to take place?
>>MILLER: They should read the information that the appeals tribunal provides to them. We mail the parties a lot of information. They need to read that and be familiar with it and follow all instructions given in those documents. The other thing, when they receive the acknowledgement of the appeal, they need to start preparing for their hearing at that time. They need to gather relevant information that they want to present to the appeals referee. They also need to make arrangements for witnesses to be present at the hearing and to testify on their behalf.
>>SUSAN: And while an individual is filing that appeal should they continue to file for unemployment claim each week, or should they wait until that appeal has been made final?
>>MILLER: Oh no, they should continue to file each week and then if they should win the appeal they will receive benefits for those for those back weeks.
>>SUSAN: Okay. And if this individual does not win their appeal after receiving that initial decision that they’ve been denied benefits, is there a step further they can take?
>>MILLER: Yes, they may file a petition for review with the labor and industrial relations commission. That petition for review must be filed within 30 days from the date the referees’ decision is mailed. The 30 day appeal period cannot be extended for good cause so they must file their application for review within that 30 day period.
>>SUSAN: Now do you have any percentages as to how often the appeals tribunal referees win essentially that appeal oversees the employer or the claimant?
>>MILLER: How many are reversed in the labor commission?
>>MILLER: We do get a monthly break down from report and it varies from month to month of course, but generally oh about 85-90% of the time the referee is upheld by the commission.
>>SUSAN: Alright. Lastly, can an employer appeal a decision and what is the difference between a contested claim and an employer appealing a decision?
>>MILLER: Well, at the time an initial claim is filed the last employer and each base period employer receives the notice of the claim and they have 10 days in which to file a protest of the claim. If they do file a timely protest then that employers’ deemed an interested party to any determination concerning of benefits for the claimant. And if the determination allows benefits to the claimant then the employer may appeal that determination to the appeals tribunal and the employer is considered an interested party all the way through the appeal process, so they get to participate in the hearing and just like the claimant.
>>SUSAN: Great. Thank you for coming to the show today and for giving us a bird’s eye view of what happens during the appeal process and for giving us more information. If you guys have any other questions or concerns that you would like to submit you can visit labor.mo.gov, click on news and notices and then click on labor talk podcasts.