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State of Alaska > DOLWD > Unemployment Insurance Appeals

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 scheduled.

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 appeal decisions.

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 Policy Manual

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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Page Updated December 14, 2006