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Filing an Appeal
If you are denied UC benefits by the Office of Employment Security (OES), and you disagree with the decision, you may file an appeal. YOU HAVE 15 DAYS FROM THE DATE ON THE NOTICE OF DETERMINATION TO FILE AN APPEAL. Either the claimant or the employer may appeal the decision. If you file an appeal after the 15 day time period, the referee will only hear the reasons for the late appeal. The only excuses that are generally accepted by the referee are fraud or negligence on the part of the OES or another unrelated party (not you or the employer). If your appeal is late and you do not have a good reason for it being late, such as a sudden emergency, the referee will not listen to the merits of your claim.
If you wish to appeal a decision you should fill out the “Petition for Appeal” which will be mailed to you along with the Notice of Financial Determination. All you have to put down as the reason for appealing is that you disagree with the decision of the OES. While waiting for a decision on your appeal, you still must continue to call PAT to register for benefits. If you are found to be eligible after the appeal process is completed, you will receive those checks for the weeks that you registered with PAT.
When you file an appeal your case is assigned to a referee who will conduct a hearing to determine the merits of the appeal.
About two weeks after you file an appeal you should receive a “Notice of Hearing on Original Appeal”. The name of the referee and the time and location of the hearing will be included in this Notice. When you receive this notice you or your representative should go to the referee’s office and examine your case file before the hearing. The file will contain all the documents the referee plans to use, including the statement your employer made concerning your reasons for leaving work. It is critical that you attend the hearing regardless of who files the appeal. If you do not appear for the hearing, you risk losing without getting an opportunity to present your side of the story. You have to be present to explain to the referee the circumstances under which you lost your job since this is the only stage where you will be given an opportunity to present your case. At the referee hearing, you have the right to be represented by an attorney or other counsel. Representation may greatly improve your chances of winning and is suggested.
After several weeks, all parties are notified by mail of the referee’s decision. If you decide to appeal a negative response from the referee hearing, your appeal will go to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in Harrisburg. Instructions for filing an appeal to the Board should be included with your notice of the Referee’s Decision. The Board of Review will make a determination based on testimony given at the referee hearing. No new evidence or testimony will be considered by the Board. Therefore, it is extremely important that you appear at the referee hearing to present your case.
* APPEALS ARE NOT BEGUN AUTOMATICALLY! You have 15 days after the referee’s decision was mailed to file an appeal to the Board. You may also appeal a decision from the Board of Review by appealing to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania within 30 days after the mailing date of the Board’s decision. After the Commonwealth Court, an appeal may be submitted to the Supreme Court of PA, however, at both the Commonwealth Court and the Supreme Court, winning without a lawyer is basically impossible.
* Claimant must request each step of the appeal process. Testimony is only accepted at the first referee hearing, unless there is good cause for the Board to reopen the referee hearing. The hearing can be reopened to include additional testimony by requesting a remand hearing from the Board of Review. The Board may grant or deny this request depending on whether they feel that more evidence is needed to complete the record or relevant evidence and testimony was unavailable at the referee hearing.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) provides free help to low income Philadelphians who need legal assistance with their unemployment compensation claims. They often represent claimants at Referee Hearings and can sometimes assist with appeals to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review and Commonwealth Court. In order to obtain representation from PLA, a sufficient amount of time is required to give the representative adequate time to prepare for your case. If you think you might want representation, please call 215-981-3800 as soon as you receive the Notice of Determination that you do not qualify or a notice that your employer is challenging your claim. This service is free of charge. We encourage you to be represented when you go to a referee hearing.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch St, Suite 300N
Philadelphia, PA 19106