The Hearing Process: Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What are some of the reasons I could be denied benefits?
- Q: What if I am denied benefits?
- Q: What if I receive an overpayment determination?
- Q: What is willful misrepresentation?
- Q: What is a hearing?
- Q: How do I request a hearing?
- Q: Who is the administrative law judge?
- Q: What will the hearing be about?
- Q: How can I prepare for a hearing?
- Q: Where can I find summaries of previous Appeal Board and Court decisions?
- Q: What happens at the hearing?
- Q: Can I ask questions?
- Q: What should I bring to the hearing?
- Q: Can I examine my file before the hearing?
- Q: Can I bring witnesses?
- Q: What if I cannot get the evidence or witnesses I need for the hearing?
- Q: Can I bring a lawyer or someone to help me?
- Q: Can I have the hearing delayed?
- Q: What happens if I miss the hearing?
- Q: What happens if your employer misses the hearing?
- Q: When will I find out about the judges decision?
- Q: Can I appeal the administrative law judge's decision?
- Q: How does an appeal work?
- Q: What if I win, but my employer appeals?
- Q: What if I lose the hearing?
- Q: Can I further appeal to the court?
Q: What are some of the reasons I could be denied benefits?
A: You must meet the conditions set by law to receive unemployment insurance. You cannot receive unemployment benefits if you have less than the required work and wages to establish a claim. Other circumstances under which your claim cannot be approved are explained below.
You quit a job due to marriage; or
You lost a job because of misconduct; and
You have not subsequently worked and earned five times your benefit rate.
Q: What if I am denied benefits?
A: If you are denied benefits, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to you telling you the reasons why. This notice will also explain for what period of time benefits are being denied, how to re-qualify and how to ask for a hearing.
Q: What if I receive an overpayment determination?
A: If it has been determined that you have been overpaid benefits, you will receive a written Notice of Determination explaining the reason for the overpayment and how to request a hearing if you disagree.
Q: What is willful misrepresentation?
A: A forfeit penalty is imposed when it has been determined that you knowingly made false statements to obtain benefits or that you purposely withheld pertinent information to obtain benefits. It results in a reduction of your rights to future benefits for a stated time period. Any future payments you may be eligible to will be used to liquidate a forfeit penalty by withholding and offsetting benefits.
Q: What is a hearing?
A: A hearing is an informal proceeding held before an administrative law judge. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the judge will decide whether you are entitled to or eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. At the hearing, you, your employer and any witnesses for either side may testify. The testimony will be recorded. Either side can also present papers or other physical evidence.
Q: How do I request a hearing?
A: You may request a hearing on any determination affecting your rights to benefits by writing a letter to NYS Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15131, Albany, NY 12212-5131. The request must be postmarked or otherwise proven to have been filed within 30 days after the mailing or personal delivery of the determination. Absent proof to the contrary, a determination shall be deemed to have been mailed on the date recited on it and received by a party to whom it is addressed no later than five business days after the date on which it is mailed. Make sure you include your Social Security number on your hearing request and the reasons you disagree with the determination. You will be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing by the Administrative Law Judge section after your request has been processed.
Q: Who is the administrative law judge?
A: The hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge, or ALJ. The ALJ is employed by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board to decide whether or not the determination made by the Department of Labor is valid and/or reasonable. The ALJ's job is to ensure that all parties have a fair chance to be heard and get a fair and impartial decision.
Q: What will the hearing be about?
A: If you are denied benefits, a "Notice of Determination" will be mailed to you exlaining the reason you were denied benefits. If you disagree with the determination, you may request a hearing. The hearing will decide whether the determination was valid and/or reasonable.
Q: How can I prepare for a hearing?
A: Prior to the hearing, you will receive a detailed notice and a question/answer pamphlet describing the hearing procedure and your rights. If you have any questions not covered in the notice, contact the administrative law judge section or the Telephone Claims Center. You have the right to inspect the file on your case prior to the hearing.
Q: Where can I find summaries of previous Appeal Board and Court decisions?
A: The Interpretation Service Index is a compilation of rules based on Appeal Board and Court decisions interpreting the Unemployment Insurance Law. It is intended to report, in summary form, decisions of current legal validity. View the Electronic Interpretation Service Index for Benefit Claims.
Q: What happens at the hearing?
A: Before the hearing begins the judge will review your file. The file may contain records of information you provided in writing or over the phone, your employer's statements and the Department of Labor's determination(s).
Q: Can I bring witnesses?
A: Yes. You can bring any individual(s) who can tell the judge something which helps you support your position. You, your employer, and the judge will be able to question any of your witnesses. Your employer may also bring witnesses and you may question them.
Q: What if I cannot get the evidence or witnesses I need for the hearing?
A: If there is documentation or other evidence that will help you prove your case, but you cannot obtain because the person who has it will not provide it to you, ask the judge to force the person who has the evidence to bring it in. To do this the judge prepares a paper called a "subpoena" (sa-pee-na). If the judge grants your request, the judge will adjourn the hearing, so the subpoena can be delivered.
Q: Can I bring a lawyer or someone to help me?
A: Yes. You can bring a lawyer or anyone else to the hearing to help you. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to get one free through your local Legal Aid Society or Legal Services office. Only a lawyer or an authorized agent can charge a fee to help you (and then only if you win).
Q: Can I have the hearing delayed?
A: If you have a good reason for a delay, ask the judge to adjourn the hearing to a later date. The judge will decide whether there is adequate reason for a delay. Some good reasons may be:
- you have been called for jury duty;
- you have not had time to meet with your lawyer or representative; or
- you need more time to gather evidence.
Q: When will I find out about the judges decision?
A: The decision will be mailed to you as soon after the hearing as possible. If you do not receive a decision within three weeks, contact the Telephone Claims Center or the Administrative Law Judge section where you had your hearing (the phone number is on the notice of hearing).
Q: Can I appeal the administrative law judge's decision?
A: Yes. You have 20 days to appeal the judge's decision to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. If more than 20 days have passed, you must explain why your appeal is late. Send a letter to NYS Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15126, Albany, NY 12212-5126 and state the reason why you do not agree with the judge's decision. You must have been at the hearing to request an appeal. If you did not appear at the hearing, you may request that your case be reopened. Your employer (or the Department of Labor) may also request an appeal.
Q: How does an appeal work?
A: Once your request for an appeal of the ALJ's decision has been received, the Appeal Board will send you a "Notice of Receipt of Appeal". The notice will explain your rights and the time limits for you to inspect your file, instruct you to submit a written statement to the Appeal Board as to why you disagree with the judge's decision, and to reply to statements by other parties.
Q: What if I win, but my employer appeals?
A: Your employer (or the Department of Labor) may appeal a decision that is rendered in your favor. If the Appeal Board agrees with them, you may be required to repay any benefits you received. Therefore, you should submit a written statement in opposition to any appeal made by the employer or the Department of Labor. You have the same rights that you would have if you had lost the hearing and requested the appeal yourself. For example, you may review the transcript and/or consult an attorney.
Q: What if I lose the hearing?
A: If the Administrative Law Judge does not rule in your favor, you will be informed of whether you are required to repay any unemployment benefits that were issued to you and/or whether your rights to future benefits will be reduced due to a forfeit penalty.
Q: Can I further appeal to the court?
A: Yes. If you, your employer, or the Commissioner of Labor disagrees with the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, the case may be taken to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Department. Further appeal must be made in writing to the Appeal Board within 30 days of the date on which the decision was mailed. Mail your appeal to UI Appeal Board, P.O. Box 15126, Albany, NY 12212-5126. You will be given further instructions once your appeal is received by the Appeal Board.
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