If the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) says you cannot get benefits, you can ask it to look at your case again. This is called appealing a denial. If you want to appeal, you must apply for a hearing as soon as possible.
There is a 10-day deadline to apply for a hearing. In some cases you can apply late (but not more than 30 days), if you have “good cause;” for example, you are very sick, or you were the victim of domestic violence or other serious reasons.
If DUA did not send you the information in your primary language, you can also appeal late.
When you appeal, you and your employer will go to a hearing. As soon as you get a hearing notice, look for an advocate with experience in the Unemployment Insurance system. You can appeal on your own, but if you lose, your legal services program may not be able to help you. The phone numbers of legal services are on the back of the hearing notice. At the hearing, you can tell a DUA hearing officer why you think you should get benefits. You will need to bring any evidence you have to the hearing.
Can my employer stop me from getting benefits?
If the DUA gives you benefits, your employer can appeal the decision to stop you from getting benefits. At the hearing, your employer will explain why you should not get benefits. He or she will also bring evidence, such as documents and records of your actions at work, to show that it was your fault you lost your job.
Your employer may not want you to get benefits because employers pay for Unemployment Insurance with their taxes. If you get unemployment benefits, your employer's taxes may go up. Therefore, your employer may have to pay more taxes. So your employer has a reason to try to stop you from getting benefits.
How long does it take to get a hearing date?
DUA says that you should get a hearing within 30 days of the day you file an appeal. But in most parts of Massachusetts you have to wait longer.
Check with the hearing division for your area. The main numbers for the DUA hearing division are:
What kind of evidence should I bring to the hearing?
You should bring any information you have about why you left your job. For example, if you quit your job because you were very sick, you could bring doctors' notes or bills. If you have any papers that you want to show to DUA, or any witnesses who can help you, then you will need to bring them to the hearing. The DUA hearing officer will use the information that you and your employer present at your hearing. Usually hearing officers are not allowed to contact witnesses or investigate your case further after the hearing.
What if I lose at my hearing?
You can appeal on your own even if you do not have a lawyer. Or your local legal aid office may be able to help.
If you lose your hearing and you do not have a lawyer to help you appeal on your own:
- You can appeal to the Board of Review. You have 30 days to appeal to the Board of Review. DUA will mail instructions to you with your hearing decision. When you appeal to the Board of Review, you can send a letter or other information to show why you feel that you should have won your hearing. You will usually not have a new hearing, but the Board of Review will look at your papers and your case again.
- If you do not win your case before the Board of Review, then you may appeal to District Court. You must appeal within 30 days after you hear from the Board .
If you have missed your appeal deadlines. You can write a letter to Judi Cicatiello, Director of Division of Unemployment Assistance, 19 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114 to ask the agency to reconsider its decision. Your letter should tell why you missed the appeal and why you should be getting benefits.
Should I still certify my eligibility for Unemployment Insurance if I am appealing a DUA decision?
Yes. As long as you are getting unemployment benefits you must certify each week that you are still eligible. This does not change when you are appealing a denial. You must still certify your eligibility each week when you are appealing a denial. You must show that you are still looking for a new job. You may certify by phone, 617-626-6338 or use webcert Unemployment Insurance online for workers.
Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Last updated December 2012