State of Alaska > DOLWD > Unemployment
Appeals Guide - Ways To Lose Your Appeal
Appeal hearings are simple show and tell proceedings. Claimants
and employers, their representatives, and unemployment insurance benefit or
tax program representatives have a chance to explain what happened and
support their testimonies with documents or other evidence.
Appeal hearings are designed for claimants and employers who do not
use an attorney or other representative. The hearing officer conducting
the hearing is responsible for conducting a fair
hearing and issuing a correct decision based upon the evidence entered
into the hearing record. Hearings are always recorded.
Even with a fair hearing process, it is possible for a party to lose
an appeal the party should have won. The following notes may help you
prevent an avoidable loss.
LOSE BY FILING A LATE APPEAL
Most benefits and tax determinations issued after June 30, 1996, become
final unless an appeal is filed within 30 calendar days after the determination
is mailed to the appellant's last address of record. With a few exceptions,
the 30-day period can be extended if there was good cause for filing a
late appeal. Good cause is defined as circumstances
beyond the appellant's control that prevented a more timely filing of
the appeal. NOTE: In some tax matters, the law provides no way to extend
the appeal period even if there might exist good cause to do so.
When a determination becomes final, hearing officers lose their jurisdiction
to change the determination even if it is apparent the determination contains
errors. Hearing officers regain jurisdiction if an extension of the appeal
period renders the appeal acceptable as timely filed. Filing an untimely
appeal can cause you to lose an appeal you could have otherwise won.
LOSE BY FAILING TO APPEAR ON TIME FOR YOUR HEARING
If you fail to appear for your hearing, the hearing officer may dismiss
your appeal unless the hearing record clearly indicates the appealed determination
is incorrect. If the hearing officer dismisses your appeal, the determination
you appealed will remain unchanged.
Hearings can be reopened for good cause. In
most cases, you must deliver or mail your request for reopening to an
appeals office within ten days of your hearing date and establish that
circumstances beyond your control prevented you from participating as
LOSE BY FAILING TO ASK THE HEARING OFFICER FOR INFORMATION
In a typical hearing, a hearing officer will give directions and provide
information. The directions and information should help the parties present
their cases and question those who provide testimony. A hearing officer
cannot ensure you a fair hearing if you do not let the hearing officer
know when you have a question.
If you do not understand something, ask the hearing officer for an explanation
or direction. A hearing officer wants you to have a fair hearing.
LOSE BY FAILING TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE HEARING
To prepare for your hearing, you need to at least carefully read everything
the appeals office has sent you.
Before the hearing, the appeals office will send the parties a notice
of hearing, a copy of all the documents that have been sent to the office
as evidence for the hearing, and a statement containing general hearing
information. The general information covers submitting additional documents
for the hearing, requesting subpoenas, and other helpful matters.
The backs of hearing notices provide the internet adress (URL) for searching
Another source for preparation is the Benefit Policy Manual (BPM). The
BPM advises how issues are decided by Unemployment Insurance offices.
The manual also refers to some appeal decisions. The BPM is on-line at
the following location: Benefit
Tax offices maintain copies of the Tax Policy Manual (TPM). Persons
filing tax appeals frequently find the manual a useful resource in understanding
how a particular tax issue has been decided previously in the appeal process.
Appeal offices also have copies of the BPM
and TPM. Review of these manuals can be useful. For
example, Commissioner precedent provides that if a worker gives a resignation
notice and the worker is discharged before the resignation notice expires,
the quit turns into a discharge under certain conditions. In that case
the burden of persuasion may shift from the claimants having to establish
good cause for quitting work to the employers having to establish whether
misconduct connected with the work was the reason for the discharge.
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