Seek Assistance From an Experienced Unemployment Appeal Lawyer 

Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Program Law, which governs unemployment compensation for Florida residents, provides benefits for most employees who are terminated from their employment.

Unemployment compensation benefits can be denied only in limited circumstances, such as when the employee is terminated for actual misconduct, as narrowly defined by the statute, or where the employee voluntarily quits working without good cause attributable to the employer. Employees who file for a claim and are denied may appeal the decision.

Employers often contest for these benefits in circumstances where the employee is, in fact, entitled to benefits. These benefits are intended to be a safety net and should not be denied based merely upon poor work performance or the employer’s subjective opinions.

Employees who are denied benefits or whose former employer appeals the benefits awarded should seek legal counsel so that they become knowledgeable about the appeals process.

Some employees consult counsel and then attempt to handle hearings and other legal proceedings on their own, while other employees retain attorneys to represent them in their unemployment compensation benefits hearings. Employees who retain professional legal representation tend to fare better than those who do not.

How To File an Appeal for Unemployment Compensation

It helps to understand the appellate process before filing an appeal. When you access the authorized website, you will note various ways to file an appeal. You can either fax, mail, or call the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (or related office, if residing in another state).

Be sure to note the timeline for filing such appeals because the deadline varies depending on the state you reside in. In some states, you may have as little as ten days. Appeals submitted after the deadline are unlikely to be reviewed. To help you with these procedures and other legalities, you can retain an unemployment appeal lawyer.

You can either file the appeal for unemployment yourself or get Berke Law Firm lawyers to assist you. If you hire a lawyer, they will look into the following:

  • Facts and circumstances surrounding your prior employment
  • Date and time of the hearing
  • Determine the amount of unemployment insurance compensation
  • File a request for an appeal hearing within 20 calendar days of the date of denial
  • Provide notice of the scheduled appeal hearings and provide representation on that date
  • If you disagree with the appeal decision, the attorney can request review by the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission (the Commission)

How Long Does it Take to Appeal an Unemployment Benefits Decision?

Normally, the appeal hearing will be held by telephone with all involved parties on a conference call. The appeal referee will record the hearing, explain appellate procedures, share the case file, place all witnesses under oath or affirmation, question parties and witnesses, and determine what evidence should be received and considered.

The decision will include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the decision, which will affirm, reverse, or modify the determination or dismiss the appeal. The referee’s decision is mailed as soon as possible after the hearing. If your appeal decision reverses the determination to deny benefits, you will be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.

Unemployment Appeal Process

There may be specific appeal forms that are required to be submitted before the prescribed deadline. Supporting information that you may need are:

  • Warnings
  • Timesheets
  • Contracts
  • Medical records
  • Personnel file

Try to obtain any other documentation that supports your cause or demonstrates that termination of benefits was unjustified.

When someone is injured at the workplace, or while performing official duties, they could also consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The process and eligibility criteria for claiming workers’ compensation is different than obtaining unemployment benefits. A knowledgeable attorney can help inform you of the differences.

Unemployment-Appeal-Lawyer

Getting a Witness That Will Help You in Your Appeal

It is helpful to have witnesses who are able to provide testimony about the circumstances leading to your unemployment situation. A witness can provide testimony at the appeal hearing on the telephone or provide a pre-written statement. You can contact an attorney to help you locate witnesses and obtain statements on your behalf.

It is important that every step of the process is completed correctly in order to establish eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.

How To Write an Appeal Letter for Unemployment Benefits

When you write an unemployment appeal letter, you need to capture basic information such as:

  • Full name as it is written in your employment records
  • Your Social Security Number or claimant I.D. number
  • The determination number that you are appealing
  • Correspondence ID number (if you opt for a phone hearing)

The appeal letter for unemployment benefits provides you with a formal opportunity to explain why your benefits have been denied. The decision that denied your original claim will provide a list of factors for the decision.

You can respond to each of these in kind to demonstrate why you should be entitled to unemployment benefits. To ensure you make the best argument, consider hiring legal help.

The Hearing Process

You will receive a notice of the hearing, which will contain the following information:

  • Date of the hearing
  • Time of the hearing
  • Location of the hearing
  • List of issues decided by the referee

When you appeal the referee’s decision to the Commission, it will go through an administrative hearings process, which includes a review of the decision without interested parties involved.

When you appeal a decision, you should be aware of several issues, especially if you choose to represent yourself. If you have an unemployment appeal lawyer’s help, they will help you get through the process in the prescribed manner. You should remain cognizant of the following issues:

  • The most common reasons for denial are that the claimant quit work for personal reasons or that the claimant was fired for workplace misconduct. Failure to demonstrate active attempts to find work while in receipt of benefits, as required by the unemployment insurance program, also often results in the early termination of benefits.
  • An appeal hearing is like a trial in that parties can present evidence, including witness testimony, documentation, photographs, and multi-media recordings. Parties may ask questions of the opposing party and witnesses.
  • The appeal referee’s written decision is final unless a party seeks review by the Commission within 20 days of the date the decision was mailed.  The referee’s decision will explain the methods for filing an appeal with the Commission.
  • When the Commission reviews the appeal referee’s decision, it will rely on the evidence presented at the appeal hearing.  The Commission generally does not conduct a second hearing.
  • You are entitled to a lawyer’s representation throughout the appellate process.

If you submitted an application for unemployment benefits that was denied, you have the right to appeal. The appeal process is complicated and confusing.  It is a good idea to consult an experienced employment law attorney for assistance. A lawyer can ensure that all deadlines are met and can present the most persuasive case to the referee.

Having legal counsel by your side will not only help you navigate the complexities of filing, but can serve as a powerful advocate during the hearing, arguing on your behalf why you are entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. Losing a job and income is stressful enough. Let our attorneys fight for you.