The Claim Process

An effective unemployment cost management program depends on a great many things.

Good hiring practices, well-defined company policies, and consistently-enforced progressive disciplinary action can mean the difference between a finding of eligibility or a disqualification from benefits. The difference between a higher tax rate and a lower one may be a matter of one missed claim, one late appeal, or one wayward charge.

A hearing notice informs all parties that an appeal has been filed and a hearing is scheduled. It includes the date, time and place of the hearing, as well as the issues to be discussed. The general hearing procedures observed by most states include the following:

  • A hearing officer, also referred to as a referee or administrative law judge, is assigned to the hearing. The hearing officer will usually begin the hearing by explaining the issues to be discussed and the meaning of any terms the parties may not understand. The hearing officer will also explain the order in which testimony will be given, when questions can be asked and when each party may respond to the other's testimony.
  • Any person who is going to testify must first take an oath or affirmation. Most, but not all, hearings require participation of a firsthand witness who can testify regarding any pertinent events leading up to the separation.
  • The hearing officer usually requires only firsthand testimony to be entered into the record and does not usually allow the admission of hearsay evidence. .The hearing officer may directly ask questions of a witness and/ or offer assistance to either party when asking questions of the other's witnesses.
  • Documents may be presented during the hearing, and the hearing officer will determine if the documents can be entered into the record as evidence.
  • Most states allow cross-examination of witnesses by either party. Therefore, it is important not to interrupt witnesses, even if you disagree with what is being said. Instead of interrupting, notes should be taken so that reference to statements can be made at the appropriate time.
  • It is important to remember that the unemployment hearing is usually the last forum in which the parties can enter evidence to be considered by the State in making its decision. Usually, unless there is a conviction in a court of law or other extreme circumstance, no new evidence will be considered by the Board of Review. Therefore, all documents, firsthand testimony and relevant facts must be presented at the hearing.
  • Each party is allowed to give a closing statement or final argument before the end of the hearing.
  • The hearing is usually tape-recorded and may later be transcribed. You may request a copy of the tape or transcript from the State; however, there may be a charge to obtain the information, and the State may require that a Board appeal be filed before sending the transcript.